Schoolkids waiting for buses are being delayed 45 minutes, workers are late arriving, tourists are complaining of gridlock and businesses are concerned about the Kerry town’s reputation.
Residents and businesses warned that many people are now bypassing the traffic-choked town.
However, a physical bypass is the sole solution, a meeting of the Killarney Municipal Area was told.
The Lake Hotel owner Niall Huggard highlighted the gridlock on the N71 Muckross Road where Killarney’s guesthouses and hotels are concentrated.
The problem was so serious, the town’s tourism reputation was suffering, he said.
A shelved link road plan between Castlelough on the N71 and Lissivigeen on the N22 could hold the key. Paul Curry, senior engineer with the county council, warned the cost for the proposed 3km link, involving two bridges, could top €30m.
“There would be significant land acquisition costs and major consideration would have to be given to crossing the River Flesk and a rail line,” said Mr Curry.
The proposed bypass had been part of the Farranfore to Killarney N22 scheme in 2004 but it did not progress.
The bypass is now being examined as a standalone project and a deputation is hoping to petition the Minister for Transport Shane Ross and the roads authority TII.
A further local measure, however, is improving a ‘confused’ traffic lights system. Paul Neary, the council engineer in Killarney, conceded the Ross Road’s traffic lights’ ‘artificial intelligence’ was not what it should be, in relation to vehicles waiting at lights.
Coach tour and bus tour operator Philip O’Callaghan said schoolchildren on the Muckross side of Killarney were taking 45 minutes longer due to traffic hold-ups on Mission Rd and Muckross Rd. He said the bypass was the only solution.
Niall Kelleher, chairman of the council’s joint policing committee, said a 40% increase in traffic had been reported on the Ring of Kerry “and it’s all passing through Killarney”.
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