• 7 October 2020

Strategic Rathbeale Road Upgrade in Ireland’s Swords

The upgraded R125 Rathbeale Road, part of the Swords to Ashbourne route, was handed over to Fingal County Council this spring. With plans for the formal opening ceremony delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Eoghan O’Brien, instead attended a simple ceremony on 10 June to unveil a commemorative stone.

This project is an important part of the phased development of the Fingal County Council Oldtown-Mooretown Local Area Plan for which the road upgrades are one of the key infrastructure provisions required to unlock subsequent development phases of the overall scheme, which will ultimately deliver over 3,000 new residential units for the western side of Swords. The Council has an overall ambition to see Swords grow from its current population of 40,000 to 100,000, which would enable the town obtain city status. This expansion would be supported by enviable transport links, with the town centre situated just 5 km north of Dublin Airport, the M1 Dublin-Belfast motorway in close proximity and the planned Dublin Airport Metro due to connect Swords, Dublin Airport and Dublin City Centre from 2027.

The Rathbeale Road Upgrade saw one kilometre of rural regional road on the edge of Swords town being upgraded to a more urban layout, complete with cycle tracks and footpaths along both sides. The upgraded stretch runs from the Murrough Road junction to the Swords Western Distributor Road junction at Rathbeale Cottages. Previously a narrow road with poor pedestrian and cycle facilities, the scheme has resulted in a much safer environment for people engaging in active travel. The driving factor for the upgrade was to create a greater connectivity for residents of new and developing residential communities at Oldtown and Mooretown, through which the road passes, and the main town centre of Swords.

Under the scheme, the road was reconstructed and realigned whilst new segregated cycle facilities were also built along its length. New junctions were constructed to facilitate access to future development plots, several new pedestrian crossings were incorporated along the length of the road and an existing dilapidated masonry arch culvert taking a stream under the road was replaced with a new culvert crossing. Road alignment was altered to improve forward visibility for vehicles and the opportunity was taken to regularise and upgrade underground drainage, services and utilities. New services were also planned and installed to cater for future requirements of the surrounding development lands.

The works were carried out within the original road corridor, necessitating negotiations with adjoining property owners to agree on accommodation works and the maintenance of safe access for residents. New pedestrian facilities were incorporated to provide a safe link from the road to a nearby school and an Archaeological Park.

Mayor O’Brien said: “As Mayor of Fingal I am delighted to officially open the new Rathbeale Road in Swords. This is our second LIHAF project that we have seen to completion and opens up the whole western side of Swords for potential new development. I would like to pay tribute to the elected members, past and present, from the Swords area who supported this important project and worked with the staff of the Council to make it happen. This will be a big asset in terms of infrastructure within the Swords area and the Greater Fingal area.”

Waterman Moylan is very pleased to have been the Council’s consultant responsible for planning, design, management and contract administration for this key road infrastructure from inception in 2017 to completion this year.

Waterman Moylan’s Project Manager, Associate Mark Duignan, said: “The Rathbeale Road will become the main access to a large new suburb of Swords over the next few years. It is very fulfilling be responsible for managing the delivery of such a vital piece of infrastructure. It was a pleasure to work with the various technical departments in the Council and with Jons Civil Engineering, the main contractor, in what was a very collaborative approach to completing the works.”

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