Severe traffic delays, already a feature of Mallow, Co Cork, look set to get worse following a decision by the NRA not to provide funding for urgent works to the town’s main roundabout.
That is according to the Independent mayor of Co Cork John Paul O’Shea after he and his councillor colleagues in the Kanturk/Mallow Municipal District received a reply from the NRA at their recent meeting saying it was not a priority for them to put a second lane on the roundabout.
“This is very bad news for traffic in Mallow,” said Mr O’Shea. “We are expecting from the start of milk season 2016 that outside of normal busy traffic using this roundabout, there will be an additional heavy goods vehicle bringing milk to the new Dairygold plant every 90 seconds.
“This will, in my view, cause severe traffic delays if the roundabout isn’t adapted to carry two lanes of traffic on it. By doing these works, it will also allow two lanes of traffic on the N20 [the Cork-Limerick road] to flow through the roundabout, compared to the one at present. The NRA needs to seriously rethink of the consequences of not doing these works before next year.”
The former Mallow town council had previously granted planning to Dairygold for a €83.5m regeneration of its milk processing plant in the town.
As part of that plan, the town council told Daiyrgold it would have to pay a contribution of €514,000 for specifically changing the roundabout to accommodate the additional HGV traffic which would be generated by the project.
Previous road works in Mallow
Dairygold subsequently appealed this cost to Bord Pleanála, which ruled that €423,000 of that contribution should be refunded to the company.
In an email to council officials, Paul Moran, regional manager of the National Roads Authority/Transport Infrastructure Ireland (NRA/TII) said they had sought legal advice and saw no basis as to why the NRA/TII should fund the balance, nor have any obligation to do so.
“We accept that improvements to the junction will provide benefits, but outside the additional developer-generated traffic, TII does not consider the improvement required a priority for the limited TII funding at this time,” Mr Moran said.
Mr O’Shea said Mallow has historically suffered from lack of road upgrading, especially as the proposed M20 motorway bypassing Mallow was shelved.
He said recent calls for an interim bypass, which would feed into the future M20, have also been met with deaf ears to date from the NRA and government ministers.
The N72 (Fermoy) and N73 (Mitchelstown) routes out of Mallow are also in a very poor condition with no sign of any improvements planned in the coming months.
The N20/N72 Annabella roundabout in on the southern side of Mallow is the junction for the people of North Cork to access Killarney, Limerick and Cork.
“I am asking that the NRA enter dialogue with Cork County Council immediately and come to a solution on this issue,” Mr O’Shea said.
“This roundabout is on a main national road and is under the responsibility of the NRA. We need maturity here and a commonsense approach.”
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