THE south-west region could lose more than €59 billion in trade in the next 25 years if the Government fails to upgrade the main road between Cork and Ringaskiddy.
The startling claim came in a report commissioned by Cork Chamber which highlights the risk to trade if the N28 isn’t upgraded to serve the proposed Port of Cork’s new terminal in Ringaskiddy. The report, prepared by Indecon International Economic Consultants, stated upgrading the road to dual carriageway is “a key catalyst project that deserves priority status”.
Cork Chamber president Ger O’Mahoney said the N28 was crucial to the success of the region. The estimated cost is €163 million, which local business leaders suggested was a pittance compared with the losses which could be accrued if the project didn’t get the go-ahead.
“The analysis and assessment in this report highlights the strong economic arguments for the upgrade of the N28 road scheme. Not only is the planned upgrade of the N28 a vital part of the external and internal connectivity of the south-west region, it would also represent the removal of a significant constraint to the international competitiveness of the region,” Mr O’Mahony said. He said the failure to upgrade the N28 would have severe competitive and economic implications for the region from the probable damage to external connectivity through the Port of Cork
Kevin Murray, chairman of the chamber’s transport and infrastructure committee, said the upgrade would also relieve commuter congestion, provide transportation capacity required to meet expected growth in freight traffic and copper-fasten the role of the N28 as a strategic national primary route.
“The current situation whereby Ringaskiddy, an international pharmaceutical cluster, is served from Cork by a sub-standard narrow single-carriageway road is completely unacceptable, Mr Murray said.
IDA regional manager Ray O’Connor said Ringaskiddy was a major zone for development. “We have several hundred acres of land there which are still vacant. If the road was in place it would be very attractive for inward investment, especially as all the other infrastructure is in place there,” Mr O’Connor said.
County manager Martin Riordan said he concurred with the report’s view that upgrading the N28 was of strategic regional importance and is well deserving of national funding.
He said the council would be in a position to proceed with the project once funding is made available. “It remains a key element in our infrastructure planning for the Cork Metropolitan Region in partnership with Cork City Council,” Mr Riordan said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved