Residents campaigning for major road safety upgrades on what has become the unofficial northern ring road around Cork City have hailed a €40,000 grant for improved pedestrian links
But the people of Killard, near Blarney, said they will continue to campaign for significant road safety upgrades before lives are lost.
They staged a number of high-profile protests during lockdown on the stretch of road between Clogheen and Blarney to highlight their concerns about speeding motorists and traffic volumes.
They said the road has become a de-facto northern ring road of Cork City in recent years, and is being used as a link from the western suburbs and the city’s busy Hollyhill Industrial Estate, home to several large employers, including Apple, to the N20 Cork-Mallow road.
Motorists travelling from the Mallow side to the west to institutions such as CUH, UCC, and CIT also use the road.
They said reduced traffic volumes during lockdown reminded them of just how quiet the road used to be and highlighted how dangerous it has become in recent years.
The area was, until May 2019, part of the Cobh electoral area of Cork County Council and residents said they have been raising road safety concerns since the mid-1990s, but that little or nothing was done.
Following the city boundary extension last summer, they lobbied city politicians for action.
In recent days, Fine Gael TD Colm Burke and councillors John Sheehan, Damian Boylan, and Tony Fitzgerald have all welcomed confirmation of a €40,000 grant to restore pedestrian access along a partially blocked footpath between Killard and Blarney.
The funding is part of a €2.8m package announced by former the former rural and community development minister, Heather Humphreys, designed to help towns and villages cope with Covid-19.
Mr Fitzgerald said the traffic problems in this area, as well as in nearby Blarney, Tower, and Cloghroe, highlight the need for substantial investment in the development of a north ring road.
The city council plans to issue tenders soon for consultants to help map out the route for the new northern distributor road, which is one of a number of key short-term proposals in the recently adopted Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy — a transport network blueprint for the next 20 years.
A separate project to the proposed northern ring road, it has been described as a “critical enabler” for the strategy.
The northern distributor road's proposed route suggests it will run from a point on the N22 east of Ballincollig, possibly from the Carrigrohane Rd, north over the Lee Valley, around the northside before connecting to the existing roads around Tinkers Cross.
The route mapping will take about 12 months.
A similar tender process is planned to identify the route for the proposed southern distributor road, which it is planned to run just south of the existing N40 South Ring Rd, from the Sarsfield Rd area, before swinging east through Frankfield and on to Douglas.