THE traffic situation in Bandon has been badly managed to the point that it is now dangerous, according to Fianna Fáil Cllr Gillian Coughlan.
As a matter of ‘emergency’, the councillor requested that standing orders be suspended at a meeting of the Western Committee of Cork County Council.
A lot of Bandon is under heavy construction with the upgrade of the water mains and the sewage network, but Cllr Coughlan said the lack of diversion signs on the Dunmanway and Macroom roads is so inadequate as to be dangerous.
As a result, she said that people are now by-passing the road entirely. ‘Residents are also very angry at the way roads have arbitrarily opened and closed, diversions have been poorly signed, and the by-pass routes have not been upgraded to take account of the extra traffic,’ she said.
Cllr Coughlan said: ‘Visitors to the town are absolutely puzzled as to how to traverse because of the inadequate signage.’
She maintained that all of these things could be easily addressed by the contractor but she said she was frustrated not to receive an adequate response from the company.
Cllr Coughlan pointed out that large vehicles, like HGVs and caravans, are ending up in the centre of town and have to do impossible U-turns in order to get back out onto the intended by-pass and she described this as being nothing short of ‘mayhem.’
‘We knew it was going to be difficult and that the road would have to be closed,’ said Cllr Coughlan, who pointed out that there are even greater dangers on the 11km relief route.
She said people are afraid to drive the by-pass because it is so overgrown that the deep roadside dykes have been obscured.
The poor condition of the road, coupled with the fact that it is silage season and there is a lot of big agricultural machinery on the road, has made the situation almost impossible, said Cllr Coughlan.
The closure time for the Glasslyn Road has also gone from eight weeks to 18 – a factor that Cllr Coughlan said ‘is really going to cripple businesses on that side of town.’
The FF councillor highlighted the seriousness of the situation, saying: ‘When all is done, I am afraid we will have a beautiful town, but with not all that much within it.’
She asked the divisional manager, Clodagh Henehan, to consider engaging the Council’s economic development section, the IDA and other national organisations in stimulating economic development in the town, and also to suspend pay parking while the works are ongoing. Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) agreed with Cllr Coughlan’s assessment of the situation, saying it needs to be dealt with asap ‘or you will have a stand-off in Bandon.’
Padraig Barrett, the Council’s director of roads, said he would discuss the situation with the contractor and Irish Water. But both he and the division manager said the feedback they are getting is ‘not the same’ as Cllr Coughlan’s descriptions.
‘What is happening in the town is working really well. We are not experiencing that on the ground, and I do not have the sense of what you are articulating here today,’ said Mr Barrett.
The director of services did, however, give an undertaking to look at the signage issues and make sure that the diversion routes are in order.