Summer traffic chaos in Clon
Continuing flood prevention works are expected to cause summertime traffic chaos in Clonakilty.
The waterfront town is on the main tourist artery through west Cork and the Office of Public Works’ (OPW) scheme could impact on traffic throughout the region.
Many businesses in Clonakilty, a county councillor warns, have expressed concern about major tailbacks on a ‘bypass’ route which could affect the town’s retail customers and prospective tourists.
The OPW is to be petitioned by Cork County Council to examine if there was any way that plans for a flood defence scheme in the town can be tweaked so contractors can work longer hours at a section of the waterfront ‘bypass’.
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan advised a meeting of the West Cork municipal district council that contractors were told they could only work on the bypass daily until 7pm daily, despite being prepared to work until 9pm.
Sheet piling is due to commence, imminently, on the Croppy Quay which extends from Clarke St Faxbridge. The works will form part of a flood defence wall which will rise to 1.1 metres above the road level, alongside the bay.
The planned piling involves a process where a large rig will drive enormous sections of reinforced concrete into the ground along the existing seawall. Due to the size of machinery and sheet piles involved, the bypass will be reduced to single lane traffic for the duration of the works.
“The work which will take at least five weeks is going to cause severe traffic issues on the eastern and western approaches to the town. The bypass is an essent l rout through Clonakilty and it already experiences traffic congestion particularly during peak hours and during the tourist season,” Mr O’Sullivan noted. “The best way around this is to let the contractors work later hours in this area.”
He said the sooner the works are completed, the better for the town as the traf- fic congestion caused by reducing the by-pass to one lane will be “catastrophic”.
“Businesses have already dealt with long-term closure of Ashe St et and Pearse Street in the centre of the town for over nine months during 2016. They are just beginning to bounce back from this. We need to take all steps necessary to ensure as litt disruption as possible is experienced,” he insisted.
Council officials, meanwhile, said an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) set out work times and the OPW was unlikely to compromise on the schedule.
Skibbereen-based Cllr Joe Carroll said he would support the request to have the work time extended.
Fine Gael’s Cllr John O’Sullivan said everything had to be done to facilitate businesses and tourists and said he hoped the EIA could be “tweaked” as Cllr Danny Collins added: “It’s only two hours and it could make a major difference.”