Fermoy suffers as motorists avoid toll road

Public representatives are seeking an urgent meeting with a toll company which manages a section of the M8 in an effort to ease traffic gridlock in a provincial town off the motorway linking Cork and Dublin.

Thousands of mainly toll-dodging motorists continue to travel through the busy town of Fermoy to avoid paying levies.

As a result, lengthy tailbacks are common, especially at peak travel periods and particularly on Friday evenings in the north Cork town.

County councillors also claim motorists, familiar with the town’s layout, are using ‘rat-runs’ to beat traffic queues and concerns have been raised of “speeding through housing estates full of children”.

Cork County Council engineers conceded they do not, on their own, have a solution to the problem which has become more acute in recent months.

The officials’ comments came after Cllr Frank O’Flynn asked them if they could improve traffic flow, particularly, at the Beechfield junction on the northern side of the town.

Executive engineer Brendan O’Gorman said 16,000 vehicles daily pass through the junction, in a town with just under 7,000 people.

“The only logical way to improve traffic flow is to reduce the volumes coming through the town by the introduction of weight and axle restrictions at certain times of the day,” Mr O’Gorman said.

“However, this is not practical for a rural town like Fermoy and is not recommended,” he also advised

“It must be remembered that there is a motorway around the town and consequently a bypass, but people still choose to avoid the tolled road and queue through the town.

“This is a personal choice and not one that the (council) executive can solve,” he added.

Cllr O’Flynn, however, noted that motorists in queues on the northside of the town regularly cut through densely-populated housing estates on Pike Road and then into Rathealy Road to beat some of the traffic queues.

Both he and Cllr Noel McCarthy said the speed of some of the vehicles travelling through some areas was “frightening”.

They said it was of even more concern that HGV drivers were also using the short-cut.

Mr O’Gorman said councillors would have to locate the funding out of their budget of they wanted traffic calming measures introduced on the rat-runs.

He said the council could bring in mobile, automated, speed check warning signs as a deterrent and the gardaí should also be asked to carry out speed checks.

“There is still a huge amount of traffic coming through town. We have to come up with a solution. The whole town is suffering from this gridlock,” Cllr McCarthy said.

He proposed the council seek an urgent meeting with the public-private partnership company, Direct Route, which runs the tolled area of the M8 between Watergrasshill and Fermoy.

Cllr McCarthy said Direct Route was also suffering losses from drivers dodging the tolls and there had to be a solution found.

Cllr O’Flynn, chairman of the municipal council agreed, along with other municipal district colleagues.

Cllr McCarthy said that they should also talk to haulage organisations to see what could be done to keep HGVs out of the town.

While car drivers are charged a toll of €1.90, HGVs with a gross weight exceeding 3,500kg and with four or more axles are charged €6.90 per journey.


Helen O’Callaghan on the dangers of products high in caffeine.The dangers of energy drinks full of sugar

When bride-to-be Alma Clohessy enlisted her mother Rita’s help in planning her wedding, they made the most of every precious moment together.Wedding of the Week: 'It was the best, yet most emotional day of my life'

As you may be aware, new rules around motor insurance documentation have been introduced. The rules are aimed at improving transparency for consumers but a broker is warning they may have unintended consequences and could cause some confusion among policy holders.Drive a hard bargain for better car insurance

When Peter Ryan lost 90% of his vision in his early 20s, his readjustment was emotionally painful, but maturing, says Helen O’CallaghanA new way of seeing the world: Peter Ryan talks about losing 90% of his sight in his early 20s

More From The Irish Examiner