Labour Councillor Elaine McGinty.
East Meath Labour councillor Elaine McGinty has proposed making tolls free for HGVs on the M1 in an effort to tackle traffic congestion in the region.
With toll prices set to rise on the M1 at the end of June, Drogheda and East Meath residents face having the region clogged up with traffic avoiding the tolls.
Cllr McGinty say there is a need for urgent action on toll charges for HGVs and has urged Meath County Council to engage with government before the increase takes effect.
“In 2013, a study was undertaken by the Department of Transport to see what the impact would be of a toll-free passage for HGVs on the M1” Cllr McGinty said.
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“HGV traffic was subject to the normal tolls in October and December of that year but in November, HGVs could use the M1, toll-free.
“The results were staggering. During the month where HGVs were exempt from toll charges, there was a 20% reduction in HGV traffic on the R132 through Julianstown.
“While this study was nearly 10 years ago, it is a good indication of what impact removing the HGV toll would have on traffic congestion in the area.”
Separately, McGinty has been informed by Meath County Council that its transport department has appointed Systra Ltd consulting engineers to carry out a review of traffic movements on the R132 through Julianstown with a view to preparing a Strategic Assessment Report for the proposed Julianstown Traffic Relief Scheme.
“A draft copy of the report has been received and has been issued to the Department of Transport for review in advance of issuing a formal request to proceed to the next phase of the scheme” she said.
“The Department of Transport has provided an allocation of €75,000 to Meath County Council for 2023 to progress the scheme.”
“Removal of the toll for HGVs on the M1 is one solution that would immediately help to tackle chronic traffic congestion in the area, improve air quality, require less road maintenance from the council and it would make our roads safer” she said.
“We also urgently need Government investment in road and public transport solutions for East Meath and Drogheda.”