The saga of redeveloping the main roundabout at Mallow has been going on for several months after TII initially refused funding and Cork County Council said it simply did not have the money for it.
The Mallow roundabout connects the Cork, Limerick, Killarney and Fermoy roads and is extremely busy at peak times.
Traffic can often be backed up on the Killarney side for up to a mile and the urgency to do something about it was highlighted when Dairygold announced a €83.5m investment in regenerating its milk processing plant in Mallow. When fully operational, it will lead to an additional milk tanker using the roundabout every 90 seconds.
When planning permission was granted by the former Mallow Town Council for the milk plant, Dairygold was asked to pay a development contribution of €514,000 for specifically changing the roundabout to accommodate the additional HGV traffic.
However, the company was successful with an appeal to An Bord Pleanála, which ruled it should only pay €91,000 towards the project — leaving €423,000 outstanding .
Dairygold said it was prepared to pay the difference, but wanted a guarantee it would get the money back.
Last September, the issue was raised by the mayor of Co Cork, Independent councillor John Paul O’Shea, who launched a scathing attack on TII and the Government for failing to address the issue. He said there was huge concern amongst transport operators and ordinary motorists that if the roundabout was not realigned to provide better traffic flow, the area would grind to a halt.
At a meeting in Mallow yesterday, councillors from the Kanturk/Mallow municipal district were informed that TII has now agreed to fund the project.
This was welcomed by Mr O’Shea and Fianna Fáil councillor Bernard Moynihan. The latter added the work was crucial and asked council officials if they had a timescale for it, to which they replied they had not.
However, they did say it could take a few months to complete and that much of the work may have to be undertaken during off-peak hours.
Independent councillor Tim Collin said if it co-incided with ongoing road improvements in Buttevant and the Cork-Mallow road, it would cause havoc.