Ballinrea Road and Ashgrove Roundabout Redesigns Approved
Writes Ciaran Dineen
The detailed design for the Ballinrea Road Improvement Scheme and Ashgrove Roundabout was passed on Monday at the full meeting of Cork County Council. It is expected that construction and development will commence later this year, ahead of the opening of the three-school campus on Ballinrea Road in September 2021.
In November of last year Carrigaline Municipal District Councillors were shown original design plans for the upgrade of the Ashgrove Roundabout, along with improvements to Ballinrea Road and to Cork Road. At the time Councillors expressed their general support for the overall design, however there were some immediate concerns that were raised about certain aspects of the proposals.
Significant work has and continues to take place on the Ballinrea Road towards Ballinrea Cross by the contractors for the three-school campus, MD Construction. Although recent events halted proceedings, the contractor has been back on site since May 18th and there has been substantial progression with their own plans since the resumption of building operations.
Over the summer the Council side of the development plans had been open to public consultation. Due to the Coronavirus, Part 8 Planning extended its deadline for submissions until July 17th. A large amount of submissions were made by individuals and groups across Carrigaline. Naturally queries were raised by adjacent estates, with residents in Carrigcourt particularly concerned with the drop-off and collection situation that will emerge once the schools open.
Although Council engineers admitted that not all concerns raised in submissions could be addressed, they did say that some very valid points and concerns were raised and it is hoped that these have been tackled.
There is a clear emphasis within the design that promotes sustainable travel, with pedestrian and cycling facilities at the forefront of the plans. A crossing near the Herons Wood estate will connect to a new footpath on the opposite road which will subsequently link with Ballinrea Road. From there the construction of a two-way cycle lane will come into effect, encouraging children and residents to avoid car travel.
Importantly, work to the Ashgrove Roundabout will see the widening of approach lanes on all sides to improve traffic flow. This will be particularly effective on the south-side approach as the nearside curb often prevents cars seeking to turn left on the Ballinrea Road.
It was expected that submissions would be raised about the inclusion of Ballinrea Cross to these plans. The junction has required serious attention for some time and while the Council anticipates that it will address the related issues, it will not become part of this design. Councillor Seámus McGrath (FF), as he has done so in the past on many occasions, expressed the urgent need for improvement at Ballinrea Cross.
Expressing his views to the Director of Roads, Cllr McGrath made it clear that work to the junction had to be finalised before September 2021. He was told that improvements would come under a new design process, which is set to include the construction of a roundabout.