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Carrigaline’s Outer Relief Road Needs To Be Defined

Writes Leo McMahon

‘We really need to nail it down’, said Cllr Aidan Lombard (FG) at the monthly meeting of Carrigaline Municipal District (MD) when calling on Cork County Council to specifically define in advance of the next local area development plan, the route for Carrigaline Outer Western Relief Road.

‘There is currently an indicative line mapping the route which brings it through housing estates and this is not a long-term solution for a relief road’, said Cllr Lombard in a motion on the matter.

In a report however, senior engineer John Slattery, said the outer relief road wasn’t routed through estates and would be determined by the design and planning processes. It would also be considered part of the Carrigaline Transportation and Public Realm Enhancement Plan.

Members were told the outer relief road would link up to the current Southern Inner Relief Road (SIRR) which at present runs from Crosshaven Road to Ferney Road. Remaining sections would continue to be delivered by private developers of Castle Heights and Forest Hill.

The SIRR had been designed as a distributor route with footpaths, cycle paths, pedestrian crossings, public transport provision and no direct access on to it from individual dwellings in housing estates along it, he added.

However, Cllr Lombard argued that an indicative route wasn’t enough. Even though it would probably take years for it to materialise, there was need, as he had stated previously, to map down fully, the outer western relief road route before zoning any more land on the south side of Carrigaline. ‘Without that, we can’t grow the town.’

He didn’t accept that the route going through Forest Hill and eventually Castle Heights was a ring road and argued there was a natural valley of land just beyond both which, if made part of an outer relief road, wouldn’t go through any residential areas. Other towns such as Clonakilty and Bandon successfully did this without going into estates so why not the county’s biggest town, Carrigaline? he asked.

Cathaoirleach Seamus McGrath (FF) said that in truth, the indicative line referred to hadn’t progressed for years while mention of the outer western relief road was as far back as the 2006 Carrigaline Transport Study. While it would be challenging in the Ballea area and involve a river crossing, the council needed to be more specific and get to preliminary design.

Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind) recalled supporting previous efforts to re-zone land under the LEA simply because of the difficulty getting through the town and its impact on the quality of lives of people in estates and the town.

At present, the council continued to expand Carrigaline on the basis that such major road infrastructure would be delivered but reminded the meeting that the inner relief road was on the development plan in 2003 and had yet to be delivered.

Cllr D’Alton wondered if the outer relief road project should be re-visited entirely and hoped it would be under the current transportation strategy.

‘I really do get the sense with Carrigaline that we just need to take a breath and ask what are we trying to do here and how best to make it a vibrant, habitable town before we do anything more significant’, she added.

In support of Cllr Lombard, Cllr Audrey Buckley (FF) as a resident of Crosshaven, it could be hell trying to get through Carrigaline with commuters from her locality asking each other what time they left in the morning so as to get through the town.  Cllr Liam O’Connor (FG) concurred. It was agreed to seek more information.

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