Short Term Measures Needed To Improve Carrigaline Traffic Flow
Writes Leo McMahon
Relatively small measures at junctions in the short term could significantly improve traffic flow in Carrigaline, claimed Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) at the monthly meeting of Cork County Council’s Carrgialine-Ballincollig Municipal District (MD).
His proposal that the senior engineer from the council’s Traffic and Transportation Section (TTS) be invited to the next meeting was fully supported by fellow councillors arising out of his motion seeking an update on proposals to carry out enhancements to traffic flow and a thorough sequencing of traffic light junctions in the town.
In a report in response to the motion, MD officer Kevin O’Regan said the TTS was in the process of reviewing road capacity options for Carrigaline.
‘An initial assessment has been carried out and the next step is to have the identified options tested using traffic modelling in order to identify a best option. This work will be undertaken later this year and it’s anticipated the process will be completed by early 2018.
‘In the meantime, a further review of the performance of the junction of the R613 with the R612 at Bothar Guidel/Church Road can be carried out to identify if further efficiencies can be achieved at this location. Any proposals in relation to these will be presented to the MD in due course’, Mr O’Regan added.
Cllr McGrath welcomed the review at Bothar Guidel junction which he previously called for with a view to extending right or left turning lanes where possible and also the progress being made regarding Carrigaline Western Inner Relief Road and improving Shannon Park roundabout.
‘However, people want solutions quickly and the traffic is getting worse on a week to week basis’ continued Cllr McGrath who urged that all be fast-tracked.
Junctions in Carrigaline, he contended, were not at maximum capacity. ‘It’s my understanding that the one at the bridge (Bank of Ireland corner) is on a 24 hour a day loop in the same cycle repeatedly even though 80% of traffic in the morning is northbound and 80% in the evening is going south. Unlike the lights at the junction at Bothar Guidel, this does not reflect the flow of the traffic and as a result traffic going south in the evening, for example, can back up the main street as far as the garages’.
Rectification of this for the lights to favour the bulk of traffic going one way in the morning and the other in the evening, he added, was a basic step and asked if it was part of the review.
When the MD officer said it was the intention of the TTS to come back to councillors with the model towards the end of this year, Cllr McGrath replied that this wasn’t good enough and asked that the senior engineer be invited to the next meeting.
Cllr Eoghan Jeffers (SF) agreed with Cllr McGrath and also supported the call for a change in sequencing of the traffic lights because even minor improvements would be welcome.
Senior executive engineer for the MD, Madeleine Healy said that within its own maintenance section, the traffic lights could be altered if required and it could be looked at by the maintenance contractor.
Complaints came into the Carrigaline office on a daily basis, primarily about Bothar Guidel junction, but this was the first time Bank of Ireland corner lights was mentioned to her.
Cllr McGrath said that because maintenance and actual changes to junctions etc, fell between two stools (i.e. area office and TTS), he was calling for the TTS senior engineer to be invited to the next meeting for a 20 minute conversation with a view to getting things done in the short term instead of waiting for another report and for him to hear the feedback councillors were getting about Bank of Ireland corner and other junctions. It was agreed to invite the senior engineer.
Western Relief Road
Earlier this year when he was County Mayor, Cllr McGrath signed the contract for the detailed design stage of Carrigaline Western Relief Road which is the final stage before construction.
A recent meeting of the council’s Southern Committee was told that the design phase is due to be completed in the second quarter of next year, the necessary land has been acquired and planning permission is in place. Subject to funding being approved, the project will be in a position to proceed to the final stage next year.
Cllr McGrath told The Carrigdhoun that council management had confirmed to him that it will be a top priority for the council to seek funding next year from the Department in the form of a strategic road grant. ‘Progression to the construction phase as soon as possible is absolutely critical and this project is strongly deserving of Government funding,’ he stated.