Councillors will get a chance midweek to press Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe about the importance of building a bypass to relieve congestion in a grid-locked Cork town.
After significant behind-the-scenes lobbying, the minister has agreed to meet a delegation of councillors from the Blarney-Macroom municipal district to discuss the importance of getting the proposed Macroom bypass back on track.
The town has suffered for years from traffic snarl-ups and, it is widely believed, the lack of a bypass has held up development of the region.
“Legal questions ended in July 2013, the Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) were issued the following month and discussions with land owners began towards the end of that year,” Fianna Fáil councillor Aindrias Moynihan said.
A grant of €4m was made available this year for buying land, but it was still felt the pace of the project had slowed significantly as there has been no movement on tendering for construction.
“On top of that, the minister said in response to a Dáil question last July that the scope for progressing projects such as this would be dependent on the availability of funding,” said Mr Moynihan.
“This is in spite of the Government having no problem in finding finance for similar projects in Kerry, Wexford, and Galway.
“We need to ensure the Macroom bypass is a key priority.”
It had been initially envisaged a complete new 43km road would be built between the Ballincollig bypass and Ballyvourney.
However, considering the current financial constraints and other important road projects which need addressing in the county, a smaller bypass might be undertaken in the interim.
Meanwhile, TD Tom Barry is scheduled this week to meet Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin to discuss how much money will be released next year by the Government for road projects in Cork.
He will also lobby for a northern relief road to be constructed in Mallow.
The recession led to the mothballing of the proposed M20 (Cork-Limerick) road which would have bypassed the town. Mr Barry said until the major scheme was back on the agenda, Mallow had to have a northern relief road. Otherwise the town would choke.
“The road would be built from the N72 (Mallow-Fermoy road) near John A Woods, on the eastern side of the town, across to the N73 (Mallow-Mitchelstown road) and then join up with the Limerick road,” said Mr Barry.
He also plans to lobby for a portion of the town’s proposed southern ring road to be built as well.
“It’s very important that we get these projects completed,” said Mr Barry. “We need them for traffic relief in the town and they’re vitally important for Mallow’s future development.”
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