DUNDALK Chamber of Commerce president Paddy Malone believes the NRA’s proposals for a possible toll on the Dundalk Bypass on the M1 motorway has “not been thought through properly.”
The Blackrock man told The Dundalk Democrat that he doesn’t believe there would be any winners if a toll was given the go ahead and expressed his belief that the plan doesn’t make sense.
He said: “My main thoughts on it are that it’s a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted because these roads are open now for 10 years.
“They need to sit down and look at this from a practical point of view. If you come to Dundalk from junction 18 then you have to figure that the ring road is so wide anyway that people will be discouraged from using the motorway if there is a toll on it.
“From junction 18 to 16, particularly at night, it’s almost quicker to use the Inner Relief Road and that’s what most people would use I feel.
“A toll only works when there is no effective alternative but the Inner Relief Road is an alternative and from that point of view I don’t believe that this has been thought through properly.”
While a possible toll would inevitably lead to more people cutting through Dundalk to avoid paying the expected e1.80 charge, Mr Malone said he didn’t expect the additional traffic flow to have any benefit on trade for the town.
He said: “People travelling get frustrated when they have to come off their main route so I don’t think many would stop here. I really don’t think there’s a winner in all of this.
“To get people into the town you need to make them feel welcome and traffic puts people off.
“I understand why the government are considering tolls but you need to plan properly where to put them. The toll at Drogheda makes sense because there is no practical alternative but the same cannot be said of Dundalk,” he said.