A new private bus service is among measures being introduced to ease chronic rush-hour gridlock in Little Island.
Kearney’s Coaches has applied to the National Transport Authority (NTA) to operate a service in and out of Little Island, where more than 7,000 people are employed in a number of industries.
It is expected that the coach company will be granted the licence and will start operating the Little Island service in July. There is currently no bus service operating into Little Island.
Michael Mulcahy, chief executive of Little Island Business Association (LIBA) said Kearney’s Coaches is assessing what pick-up and drop-off points it will use to bring workers in and out.
He said a number of the stops will be in the city centre and the service would “certainly help” reduce the number of cars being used by workers. LIBA has already surveyed its member companies to ascertain how many of their employees would use the service.
Traffic can be chaotic at rush-hour. In the morning there are regularly lengthy queues heading for the slip road into Little Island on the N25 Cork-Midleton road.
In the evenings there are major tailbacks within Little Island as workers try to get back out onto the main roads.
Mr Mulcahy said there will be some other changes introduced shortly on roads in the area. These include adding an extra lane to the East Gate access bridge and the addition of an extra lane to the up-ramps into Little Island off the N25.
The Crompain roundabout, which is also a crucial pinchpoint within the island, will undergo a makeover, to accommodate two-lane traffic at East Gate.
Meanwhile, a second lane will be created towards the north to Ballytrasna, in order to relieve outbound capacity in the evenings. The council is planning to introduce those changes shortly.
The council is also working on a traffic and transportation masterplan to further ease traffic congestion, which it is expected to publish next month.
Mr Mulcahy said he hopes the masterplan will help improve traffic flow, but there is only one realistic solution, especially as more industries and businesses are likely to want to locate there in the years ahead:
A farmer has already offered land to Cork County Council for free to help ease the situation. However, the council would need permission from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to connect it to the N25.
“LIBA has been lobbying TII to get this done,” Mr Mulcahy added.
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