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Route selection study: N17 Knock to Collooney

MKO provided all the required ecological and biodiversity services to inform an options selection process for upgrading over 60km of the N17 national route between Knock in county Mayo and Collooney in county Sligo. The project involved preparing an initial ecological constraints study followed by the ecological assessment of various potential route options. The assessments involved desk and field surveys and extensive collaboration with a multi-disciplinary design team. The ecological assessment that MKO undertook fed into a multi-criteria analysis that ultimately led to developing a single emerging preferred route corridor for the proposed road upgrade.

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Project challenges

The work involved a high level of cooperation between MKO as project ecologists and the other professional disciplines that were involved in the route selection process. These included the project engineers and design team, hydrologists, hydrogeologists, archaeologists, built heritage specialists and agricultural consultants. The study area included numerous high-level constraints, including Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and protected habitats such as bogs, turloughs, woodlands and wetlands.

MKO worked collaboratively with the wider project team to ensure that the route options that were brought forward could not only meet the requirements of the road upgrade scheme but also avoid significant residual effects on important ecological receptors. Given the importance of the identified receptors and their abundance throughout the study areas, the potential route options were heavily influenced by ecological factors, and the emerging preferred route option resulted in lower levels of ecological impact than the other options considered.

Main services provided



Desk and field surveys to identify constraints over a 60km study area.


Ecological assessment

Ecological Assessment of numerous route options.


Multi-disciplinary team

Work as part of a multi-disciplinary team to undertake an appraisal of route options.


Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA)

Input into a Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) of the potential route options.



Preparation of a biodiversity chapter of the Route Selection Study for N17 Knock to Collooney.

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