Sum­mer traf­fic chaos in Clon

Irish Examiner - County - - Front page - Sean O’Riordan

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.”

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