Writes Ciaran Dineen
Today at the Carrigaline LEA Municipal District meeting in County Hall, elected representatives were given detailed proposals for the new road design of Ashgrove Roundabout, Cork Road and Ballinrea road, ahead of the development to the three-school campus in Ballinrea.
There was an emphasis placed on providing improved pedestrian and cyclist connectivity between Cork and Ballinrea Roads and documents of the ‘Part 8’ design will be placed online and accessible to the public in January 2020. The plans were put forward by John Slattery and Ken O’Regan of Cork County Council, who said that, at the earliest, a contractor could be on-site in the Summer of 2020 should the process move perfectly, however it is more likely that work will commence later that year.
The proposal is primarily focused on providing an increase in safety measures for pedestrians, while also encouraging people to travel around the area by cycling, with significant provisions being made for cycle lanes. However, works are set to affect all commuters travelling in and out of Carrigaline. The majority of the design focuses on the Ashgrove Roundabout and the access from all four roads around it.
It was reported that there will be a widening of lanes on approach to the roundabout and the division of the lanes will be made further down road, meaning that this should result in a longer split between cars travelling through the roundabout and those who turn-off to the left.
Plans outline that there will be five controlled crossings with pedestrian lights between Cork Road, Ashgrove Roundabout and Ballinrea Road. The first of these crossings will be outside the Heron’s Wood bus stops, allowing people to cross the road safely. Footpaths will also be constructed and will continue down towards the roundabout and then right towards Ballinrea Road. A further three crossings will all be placed on the three roads adjacent to the roundabout, but will be placed slightly further down than where the current island crossings exist.
A two-way cycle lane will also be implemented on the Carrigmore and Carrigcourt side of the Ballinrea road, which will go from the Ashgrove Roundabout all the way up towards the three-school campus. Further provision has been made for the establishment of a controlled crossing near the entrance to the Dún Eoin estate, again highlighting the need to cater for the high number of students who will be enrolling in the schools around the area. Engineers did say that some of the trees along the green space within the site would have to be removed, but that for every tree lost another will be planted in further available space.
Councillors from the area witnessed the detailed plans and all acknowledged the need to prioritise pedestrian and cyclist safety. Councillor Audrey Buckley (FF) was however concerned about the potential for traffic build-up on the Heron’s Wood approach to the roundabout as a result of the crossing that will be situated on the road towards Ashgrove Drive. The response to this concern was that all of these considerations had been taken into account but that a crossing at such a point was an absolute must. Councillor Aidan Lombard (FG) asked engineers whether it was possible for bus shelters for the new 225 bus service, which travels up Ballinrea Road, to be included in the plans. Engineers replied by saying that currently bus shelters were not part of the overall proposals but that this would be looked at.
The total cost of the works are set to cost around €900,000 and Cork County Council control all development works up until the Carrigcourt estate. It is thought that any remainder to the developments between the estate and the school campus will be done by MD Construction.
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