Cork tunnel to close week nights to upgrade fire safety
Cork’s Jack Lynch Tunnel is to close on week nights for up to six months, so work can start on bringing it in line with EU fire safety standards.
The closure has been confirmed by the National Roads Authority – NRA - and the work is expected to cost in the region of €5m.
The NRA is proposing to start work in October. The tunnel opened in 1999.
At the time it was the biggest infrastructural project ever undertaken by a local authority, with the 610m twin-bore tunnel and 1.8km of approach roads costing just over IR£100m.
The tunnel was built to accommodate traffic of 25,000 vehicles initially, eventually rising to 40,000.
In fact, average daily throughput now exceeds 65,000 vehicles and the tunnel has become vital for the free movement of traffic in and around Cork City.
New EU regulations on fire safety mean both the north and south bores of the tunnel have to be retro-fitted with flame-retardant cladding to protect the structure in the event of a major fire.
The Dublin Port Tunnel and the Limerick Tunnel under the River Shannon already comply with these regulations.
The NRA says the work is being done at night to minimise disruption and the closures will be suspended during major events in the city.