Sunday 25 August 2019

Tenders issued for design of Mallow Relief Road

Bill Browne

The vice-chair of the Mallow Development Partnership (MDP) has said he was hopeful of 'start and completion' dates for the long-awaited Northern Relief Road being confirmed in the not too distant future. 

Speaking to The Corkman, John McDonnell said he believed "some positivity" can be taken from the fact that tenders for the design of the N72/N73 relief road have now been issued.

Mr McDonnell said recent reports that the road may be 're-profiled' due to massive overspending elsewhere had seemed to indicate the "long awaited and much promised road was once again being mothballed." 

However, he confirmed the tender for the design process of the road has been issued, with responses due back at the start of next month.

The completion of the assessment process will then pave the way for the successful consultant to be appointed. 

"Hopefully, some positivity can be taken from this announcement and specific dates for the construction start and completion of the relief road can finally be confirmed," said Mr McDonnell. 

"This is the least that the people of Mallow and North Cork can expect given the very concerted and unified effort of all stakeholders and political interests in a campaign for which the latest phase commenced more than five years ago," he added. 

Mr McDonnell said the importance of the issue was recognised by the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny back in 2014 when, speaking at a Dairygold investment launch in Mallow, he requested an independent economic study be undertaken  to justify its construction. 

The Indecon Report, commissioned by the Mallow Representative Group, was produced following an intensive local consultation process and duly presented to the then minister for transport Paschal Donohoe in December 2015.

Mr McDonnell said that among the conclusions of that report was the "definitive finding" that the €30/€35 million cost of the relief road would be more than compensated for by the economic benefits it would bring to Mallow, North Cork and the wider Munster region. 

He said the Jacobs Route Feasibility Report, commissioned by Cork County Council and completed in December 2017, further re-enforced the case for the relief road. 

"It said that a northern by-pass would effectively provide important relief for the town centre congestion, as well as facilitate access to key supply and market routes for agri-food industry in the town and the surrounding region," said Mr McDonnell. 

"Importantly, it would also form an integral component in the future completion of the wider N20 corridor upgrade and the regional national road network," he added.