IT could be years before the Bandon by-pass extension is completed, at the rate things are progressing, councillors fear.
At this week’s meeting of the local authority, councillors had been discussing this year’s National Roads Allocation (€94m) from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) for 2022, which sees an increase of 9% on last year’s figure.
As part of the minor scheme category, €50,000 is being allocated for the Bandon by-pass extension.
While welcoming this allocation, county mayor Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) said it’s better than nothing, but lamented the slow progress of the project.
‘It’s taken four years to get to Phase 2 of this project and at that rate it will be a long time before the extension is done. Is there anything we can do to speed the process up?’ asked Cllr Coughlan.
‘We have a new extension for Coláiste na Toirbhirte and the local gaeilscoil but the infrastructure is not there to take the traffic and it will be mayhem there and we need this project to be expedited.’
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) said the allocation of €50,000 for the project is a ‘paltry amount’ of funding and ‘half insulting’ and that it’s being delayed all the time.
‘There are seven stages for it to get through and this should be a short process and we should write to the Department of the Environment asking them to shorten the process,’ said Cllr Murphy.
He also said he understood that the route for the bypass had already been chosen and that a flyover over the Kilbrittain road had already been decided.
However, Padraig Barrett, the director of services, road and transportation, said that the route has not been selected yet and that they are still looking at a number of options in accordance with the public spending code.
‘We have to look and make sure we select the best option rather than the easy option from a financial and environmental point of view and it is unfair to impose a road on any landowner without ensuring it’s in the best interest of the wider community,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind), who is chair of the roads and transportation SPC (special purpose committee), welcomed the allocation of €94m, which he said is a ‘small increase’ but added that there are significant shortfalls in the national secondary road funding and maintenance and he said they are seeking to meet with the Minister of Transport to highlight these issues.