Work will not commence on a Macroom bypass or new Cork-Ringaskiddy road until at least 2022, as priority is being given to upgrading the Dunkettle/Jack Lynch Tunnel interchange.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) officials told a Cork County Council delegation that while the Macroom and Ringaskiddy roads were in the capital investment programme (2016-2021), funding had not been allocated and TII had been advised that “expenditure will not ramp up until 2020/2021”.
They said the Dunkettle upgrade was the top priority and TII intended to appoint a contractor in 2018, with a view to work commencing in 2019 or 2020. TII said work on both the Macroom and Ringsaskiddy roads would start sometime after 2021.
TII officials advised any political pressure county councillors could exert to accelerate a budgets increase would be appreciated.
They also expressed disappointment that the €800m Cork-Limerick motorway was not on the capital investment programme and the need for it had been highlighted by the number of recent fatal accidents occurring on the N20, especially in the Mallow area.
Independent councillor Declan Hurley, head of the council’s roads and transport committee, said the need for lobbying was obvious and councillors should seek a meeting with Transport Minister Shane Ross.
Mayor of County Cork Seamus McGrath said the TII report made for grim reading.
Fianna Fáil councillor Ian Doyle said he was very concerned at rumours a Cork-Limerick motorway would be routed through Mitchelstown. Both he and Fine Gael councillor Gerard Murphy said it would economically isolate Mallow and large swathes of north-west Cork. Mr Doyle also said the main Cork-Limerick road in Charleville was “falling apart” and needed urgent attention.
“I don’t think we’ll see the M20 built in my lifetime,” said Independent councillor Tim Collins. “We also need the northern relief road built in Mallow because a lot of haulage moves through the town from Rosslare to Kerry and, at the moment, traffic congestion is a disaster.”
TII officials said while the relief road was listed in the capital investment programme, funding had not been given so it could not provide a timeframe for construction.
It said a consulting engineer had been appointed to carry out a feasibility study into the project, but accepted there was a good business case for building the road.
Fianna Fáil councillor Daithí Ó Donnabháin said there were nine suspended projects on TII’s list for Cork and that was having a major negative impact on economic activity in the region.
Councillors are to seek an urgent meeting with Mr Ross to discuss the issues.
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