The planned weekend closure of Cork’s landmark St Patrick’s Bridge has been deferred amid mounting criticism of the controversial afternoon car ban on the city’s main street.
A full bridge closure was planned from 7pm on Friday to 6am on Monday to facilitate resurfacing works as part of the bridge’s €1.2m restoration.
However, against the backdrop of mounting criticism from some retailers about the impact of the St Patrick’s St afternoon car ban, a decision was made last night to defer the resurfacing work until January at the earliest.
City Hall insisted the decision was made because it could not be guaranteed that the resurfacing work would be completed by Sunday night. However, it is understood an intervention by Cork Business Association was a factor in the decision.
Earlier, several traders voiced their anger at the afternoon car ban, with some claiming a 30% slump in afternoon trade.
Despite council figures showing footfall levels have remained steady since August 9, John Grace, who runs John Grace’s Fried Chicken on Cook St, said the real story is reflected in retailers’ tills.
“This strategy is killing business, it’s strangling the city centre,” said Mr Grace.
Tom Murphy, of Tom Murphy Menswear, on St Patrick’s St said the last two Saturdays were the quietest he’s seen in 22 years.
“It’s worse than the recession. It’s the worst I’ve seen it,” he said.
The city’s longest-serving councillor, Tim Brosnan, said he is now considering calling for the restriction to be lifted for Christmas unless statistics, due to be presented at next Monday’s council meeting, prove it is working.