Tuesday 24 October 2017

Bypass 'will give instant €90m boost to town'

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A town on Ireland's busiest non-motorway primary road has claimed a bypass will deliver an immediate €90m economic benefit.

Mallow Representative Group (MRG) has submitted a detailed report to Government on the benefits a bypass of the north Cork town will offer.

The town is now one of the most traffic-choked in Ireland.

"The main street in Mallow has become a traffic black-spot as a result of people having to use the main street as a traffic corridor," an MRG official said. "People now avoid main street unless absolutely necessary.

"Mallow is constantly in a traffic jam at the moment."

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has not committed to the bypass - and has further ruled against a National Roads Authority (NRA) request to allow the proposed M20 Cork-Limerick motorway go to the planning stage.

Early estimates put the M20 development cost at €1.2bn - funding the Government has argued it simply does not have.

However, Mallow is lobbying for its €14m bypass element of the motorway to be allowed proceed given its obvious benefits.

Consultants, Indecon, said it was clear that user-benefits of the bypass would amount to around €90m.

A survey of local businesses indicated a bypass could result in an overall employment increase of between 5pc and 10pc in the town and surrounding area.

Mallow Chamber of Commerce, Mallow Development Partnership and local politicians including Minister of State Sean Sherlock have also argued that a bypass will help transform the economic fortunes of the town.

Councillor Frank O'Flynn said it was clear that the Mallow bypass and M20 motorway project hold the key to the economic future of the region.

"Don't forget we aren't just talking about north Cork and the south-west here - we are talking about a major boost for the mid-west too," he said.

Mr Donohue stunned Limerick and Cork councils by refusing to even allow the project go to the planning stage.

The planning request had been lodged by the National Roads Authority (NRA) which has identified the proposed M20 Cork-Limerick motorway as one of Ireland's priority road projects going forward.

Business group Ibec added its voice to the row, warning that the Government should consider a special Public Private Partnership (PPP) for a motorway regarded as one of Ireland's priority road projects.

Irish Independent

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