The mayor of a Co Cork town fears traffic gridlock will ensue during the second phase of its €38m flood alleviation works unless its bypass toll is axed.
Cllr Michael Hanley has pleaded with Minister for State at the Office of Public Works (OPW), Brian Hayes, to put pressure on private toll operators Direct Route to allow free access to Fermoy bypass (M8) when flood prevention works become disruptive to normal traffic flow through the town.
He was speaking yesterday as the minister announced the green light for the second phase of the project, which will focus on creating flood barriers on the southern side of the town.
The project will begin in the middle of next month and its contractors, Lagan Construction, expect it will take up to two years to complete.
Mr Hanley said that everything should be done to ensure the town didn’t become a no-go zone as businesses had suffered severely in the past, not least from traffic congestion caused during the first phase of the project which finished last year.
He said Fermoy had lost 2,000 manufacturing and insurance jobs in the past few years and it couldn’t cope with further disruption to its commercial life.
County engineer Noel O’Keeffe said consultations would take place between the OPW, the contractors and town traders to minimise disruption.
Seamus Devlin, Lagan Construction’s regional director, said up to 50 jobs would be created by the project.
“We will use local contractors as much as possible,” Mr Devlin said.
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