CPOsagreed­forN73 re­align­mentscheme

The Corkman - - NEWS - BILL BROWNE

THE process of re­align­ing ar­guably one of the most treach­er­ous stretches of road in north Cork has taken a huge step for­ward fol­low­ing con­fir­ma­tion of com­pul­sory pur­chase or­ders (CPOs) for lands un­der the N73 An­nak­isha re­align­ment scheme.

For many years Cork county coun­cil­lors have cam­paigned for safety mea­sures to be put in place on the road, in par­tic­u­lar at An­nak­isha Bridge, a no­to­ri­ous black-spot that has been the scene of nu­mer­ous road traf­fic ac­ci­dents over the years.

CPO’s for just over 11 hectares of land along the 3.5km of works planned for scheme were ad­ver­tised last De­cem­ber.

Kieran McKeone, se­nior ex­ec­u­tive en­gi­neer with Cork County Coun­cil’s na­tional roads office, said that 13 ob­jec­tions were sub­se­quently lodged by lo­cal landown­ers with An Bord Pleanála. These re­lated, in the main, to ac­cess is­sues.

Fol­low­ing a con­sul­ta­tion process be­tween their rep­re­sen­ta­tives and coun­cil of­fi­cials the ob­jec­tions were with­drawn al­low­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Tim Lucey to sign off on the pur­chase or­ders with­out the need for an oral hear­ing.

Mr McKeone said the next step will be for the Coun­cil to is­sue what is known as a No­tice to Treat to Transport In­fra­struc­ture Ire­land (TII) be­fore fund­ing is re­leased for the CPOs and the multi-mil­lion re­align­ment scheme.

He said the scheme would be com­prised of three el­e­ments to straighten the dan­ger­ous curves and widen the road from An­nak­isha Church to ap­prox­i­mately 1km be­yond An­nak­isha Bridge on the Mal­low side.

The work will in­clude bypassing the bridge with a new stretch of road­way, sim­i­lar to the project car­ried out on the old bridge on the N72 Mal­low-Fer­moy road near the Nano Na­gle Cen­tre.

Mr McKeone said a de­sign for the scheme, which was passed through a Part 8 plan­ning process in 2014, will need to be up­dated with some mi­nor changes be­fore work com­mences.

He said it was hoped that work on the scheme would com­mence next year, fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of works at nearby Clogher Cross, and would take be­tween six and nine months to com­plete.

In the mean­time, pre­lim­i­nary works and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal digs have been un­der­taken at a site op­po­site An­nak­isha Church, dur­ing which ev­i­dence of an old black­smiths was dis­cov­ered.

Mr McKeone said that di­ver­sion works would be put in place along the N73 dur­ing the works.

“It is most likely that traf­fic will be di­verted along the N72 or through Don­eraile. How­ever, it is im­por­tant to note that these di­ver­sions will be in­ter­mit­tent as the stages of the scheme de­velop and the road will not be closed for the en­tire du­ra­tion of the scheme,” she said.

“Any di­ver­sions will be well ad­ver­tised in ad­vance of the com­mence­ment of works,” he added.

Mr McKeone said the scheme was es­sen­tial to im­prove safety along the road.

“There have been a num­ber of ac­ci­dents at curves on this stretch of road over the years and its nar­row­ness in places makes it im­pos­si­ble for heavy trucks to pass each other with­out one hav­ing to pull over,” he said.

“It is cur­rently of in­suf­fi­cient stan­dard for a na­tional route and this scheme will ad­dress that.”

The ac­ci­dent black-spot at An­nik­isha Bridge on the N73 Mal­low-Mitchel­stown Road is to be by­passed un­der the scheme.

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