The Taoiseach and Minister for Housing have turned the sod on a major new road development in Drogheda, Co Louth, that will pave the way for more housing for the region.
The Drogheda Port Access Northern Cross Route is a 2km road that will eventually link the M1 to Drogheda Port, on land owned by Louth County Council. The first phase of construction of this road will facilitate the delivery of 1,300 new homes for the town.
It will see a new section of road from the Rosehall Roundabout to the proposed Ballymakenny Road Roundabout, along with work on Twenties Lane and upgrades to Ballymakenny road. Later phases of the road will have the potential to deliver another 3,500 new homes.
The road is being built by Castlethorn and the Housing Infrastructure Services Company (HISCo), a commercial entity that provides supporting infrastructure that it says is “hindering the delivery of residential development throughout Ireland”.
HISCo is a joint venture between the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and Cork County Council.
The idea behind this funding model is to remove a barrier at the start of a housing project, and it means that if developers engage HISCo, key infrastructure work that will unlock land to be used for housing can be carried out. In this case, two housing developers, Castlethorn and Ballymakenny Developments Ltd have engaged HISCo to construct the road on their behalf. HISCo’s fee is calculated on a per-unit basis and is only paid once each unit is sold or leased.
The Minister for Finance has said that the investment of Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) in projects like this was an important element of ISIF’s impact strategy, which focuses on long term investments to address challenges facing the country including climate action, housing and enabling infrastructure.
Speaking at the sod turning event this morning, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the road would “unlock the social and economic potential of this part of Drogheda”. He said the latest census results are expected to confirm that Drogheda is the largest town in Ireland and therefore requires substantial and sustained investment. Mr Varadkar said that improved roads like the one today will “reduce congestion and travel times, improve road safety and open up new economic opportunities by diverting more heavy goods vehicles and trucks away from the town centre”. He said that it will also make the town a more attractive place for people to live and work and also to visit for pedestrians, and cyclists.
Meanwhile, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said that both private and public sectors need to work together to deliver housing, further saying, “The State cannot do everything on it’s own”. Mr O’Brien also said that the project in Drogheda is a partnership of both the public and private sectors. The minister said that commencement figures for housing for the month of January will be announced later today. He said they would be “the highest January figures that we have ever had since we started collating records and that is a good sign”.