A North Cork town faces gridlock for several years to come as there are no plans to provide a bypass in advance of the construction of a Cork-Limerick motorway.
Both Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), formerly the NRA, and Cork County Council engineers have acknowledged traffic congestion in Charleville was a huge problem.
But neither body supports building a relief road ahead of the M20 project.
While the M20 has been included in the latest National Development Plan, there is no start or finish date for the proposed inter-city route, likely to cost about €800m.
Charleville-based Cllr Ian Doyle told a county council meeting that, realistically, it could be anywhere between 10 and 15 years before a motorway is opened.
In the meantime, he said, motorists would continue to suffer lengthy delays in the town which are commonplace and not just at rush-hour periods.
He said a lot of planning permissions were in the pipeline for the town and was concerned they could be held up if something was not done to alleviate congestion.
He said he was also concerned businesses were suffering, as a result.
“A ring road would cost in the region of between €10m to €15m,” Cllr Doyle said. “In the great scheme of things, the cost is very little compared to the M20 which could take years before it is built.”
In a report delivered to councillors, senior county council engineer Bob O’Shea said he had spoken with TII officials who were conscious of the level of traffic congestion in Charleville. He said TII, Limerick City and County Council and Cork County Council had lobbied strongly for the motorway and that appeal had culminated in it being included in the National Development Plan.
However, Mr O’Shea said a separate bypass of Charleville “would not offer the broad and more sustainable benefits offered by the M20 project”.
However, Cllr Doyle insisted it was imperative Charleville secured a bypass in the interim or it would stifle its future economic prosperity. He noted the town was one of the most attractive locations in Co Cork for commuters and businesses, while the Local Area Plans envisages a further 800 homes being built there.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved