Talks are taking place between Cork County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in an effort speed up roadworks in one of the country's industrial hubs, after claims they're causing major traffic gridlock.
Standing orders were suspended at a council meeting in County Hall after councillors said something had to be done about the roadworks at Little Island. They involve adding an extra lane on an overbridge which is the main entrance into and out of the area.
Cllr Padraig O'Sullivan said that while residents and the thousands of people employed there realised there had to be “some short-term pain for long-term gain,” they were angered by the huge tailbacks being experienced, especially at peak hours.
“There are 36,000 individual journeys in and out of Little Island every day. While I agree the works are necessary I want a number of questions answered, given this (work) will lead us up to June,” he said. Cllr O'Sullivan asked that weekend and night work be used to speed up the process.
“The people who live there and the employees are saying it's very frustrating. This has had a knock-on impact in other areas and is backing up traffic as far away as Mahon and Glanmire,” Cllr O'Sullivan said.
Cllr Anthony Barry said Little Island was of major strategic importance. “I hope something can be done. It's mad to see no weekend work going on. A woman who was onto me said she went into the bank there and was waiting and hour and a half to get out Little Island,” he said.
Cllr Bob Ryan said he was on business in Little Island recently and it took him “an hour and three quarters to get out of the place".
Council chief executive Tim Lucey said the works in Little Island “were always going to be a challenge and there would be disruption for a number of weeks.” He said the council was paying traffic corps gardaí €1,800 per week to direct traffic in the area.
Mr Lucey said his officials were in discussion with TII to speed up the project, which could include “some weekend work” and a new traffic management plan might also be implemented.