Timeline confirmed in response to Dáil query by TD Seán Sherlock to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan
IT’S been a long, slow and at times torturous process, but it seems there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel for the long-awaited Mallow Relief Road.
This after Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) said it was anticipated Cork County Council would lodge a planning application for the multi-million Euro project with An Bord Pleanála before the end of this year.
Mallow-based Labour TD Deputy Seán Sherlock had raised the issue in a parliamentary question to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan seeking a timeline for the scheme, which it is estimated will cost in the region of €50 million to complete, and a breakdown of the money already spent on it to date.
Last October Tom Cannon of Barry Transport, the lead technical advisors on the project, confirmed that following a full cost/benefit analysis of the different route options for the project, it has been decided to stick broadly to the ‘emerging corridor’ proposal unveiled in June 2021.
The scheme see the road commence at the junction with the N20 in the vicinity of Mallow General Hospital and east to Ballyviniter Lower before turning south-east to the junction with the existing N72 road at Oliver’s Cross.
It will be a single-lane dual carriageway with an adjacent two-way cycle/footpath on one side. While the only access points to the road will be through the junctions at either end, there will be overpasses connecting the existing road network allowing local access to Mallow town centre.
The project also makes provision for an ‘active travelway’ (walkway and cycle path) to run along the former railway line adjacent to the estates in Ballyviniter and to the north of Lacknalooha, with the option of linking that up to the proposed Mallow to Dungarvan greenway.
Mr Cannon said the preferred route had been selected for a variety of reasons including that the benefits would outweigh the cost, it would offer better safety to vulnerable road users and would offer the least impact on the local environment and biodiversity.
He said the scheme would reduce congestion and noise pollution in Mallow by removing significant levels of traffic and create a safer environment for cycling and walking in the town and its environs.
Mr Cannon said the next stage of the project would be the design and environmental evaluation phase which would take between 12-15 months to complete.
“There are a lot of constraints ahead of us in terms of funding and planning permission. Assuming all phases of the project run smoothly and funding is made available for design, tendering and approval given for construction the earliest road opening could be towards the end of 2027,” said Mr Cannon.
Responding to Deputy Sherlock’s parliamentary question TII confirmed approval had been granted to move forward with the design and environmental evaluation phase of the project.
“Following this, the statutory planning process will be undertaken Cork County Council anticipate that the (planning) application to An Bord Pleanála will be made in fourth quarter of 2023.”
The application will also incorporate a number of compulsory purchase orders for land along the route.
Deputy Sherlock said he was “encouraged” by the response from TII.
“This good news. I do believe this project is moving on and the next phase is coming up,” said Deputy Sherlock.
In their statement TII gave a breakdown of the money spent so far on the project.
TII said to date €1,464,252 has been spent on the scheme, the bulk of this (€1,131,252) on the ‘technical advisor fee’.
The remaining costs were swallowed up by geotechnical surveys (€256,464), traffic surveys (€49,230) and public consultations (€27,265).