Wednesday 19 June 2019

Green light for Ballymac safety plan

Roundabout in 2019 for 'most dangerous' junction on N72

Bill Browne

A plan to install a roundabout at a road junction, once branded "one of the most dangerous in the country", has been rubber stamped, with construction work on the project set to commence in the New Year.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has confirmed that its has earmarked funding for the traffic-calming measure at Ballymacquirke Cross on the N72 between Kanturk and Banteer. 

Debate has raged for some time at County Council level over the need for safety measures at the busy junction, with thousands of people from the area even signing a petition calling for action to be taken there.

Among those to champion the issue was Cllr Bernard Moynihan (FF) who, along with other councillors, has repeatedly raised it at meetings over the past couple of years. 

Last January the local authority said their consultants had submitted a report to TII with three possible solutions - improving sight-lines by staggering approach roads to the junction; installing a roundabout; or building a flyover over the crossroads. 

The following March, Cork County Council's director of services, Tom Stritch, confirmed the roundabout was their preferred option and that their National Roads Office had submitted a report on the recommendation to TII. 

"The way that they (TII) are talking, it seems that approval will be given. Of course, we will have to get that in writing," he said. 

Welcoming Mr Stritch's comments, Cllr Moynihan said he hoped TII would "move swiftly" to allocate funding for the roundabout. His brother, Cork North West TD Michael Moynihan, recently raised the issue in a parliamentary question to Transport Minister Shane Ross, requesting a progress update on the project. 

In reply, the TII head of regulatory and administration, Gary Lynch, wrote that each year the body undertakes an analysis of the national road network to identify locations with high levels of collisions. 

He wrote that Ballymacquirke Cross had been identified as a location that "required investigation" and TII had requested Cork County Council to provide a feasibility study for a scheme of safety measures at the junction.

"The study has been submitted and TII has agreed to fund the design and construction of the proposed safety improvement works," he wrote.

"Cork County Council is currently procuring a consultant to prepare a detailed design of the scheme, which will require planning approval, and it is anticipated the works will be undertaken in 2019," he concluded. 

Mr Lynch did not say how much the project would cost to implement.

 Welcoming the commitment from TII, Deputy Moynihan said it was "wonderful news". 

"The significant safety issues at this junction have been a matter of grave concern to the local community and motorists for many years, and this development is great news for the many people travelling through this junction on a daily basis," said Deputy Moynihan.