By BRIAN MOORE
BANTRY does not need a traffic management survey, according to management at Cork County Hall.
That was the comment which the manager made to The Southern Star this week, despite ongoing calls for traffic problems in the town to be addressed.
While Castletownbere is currently undergoing a study to determine what the town needs when it comes to traffic management and development for the future, calls for Bantry to undergo a similar review seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
‘As a Bantry-based councillor, I see on a daily basis, the problems caused by the increase of traffic into the town,’ Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG) told The Southern Star. ‘There was a study started many years ago but since then we have a new school, a general hospital and the added traffic using the N71, which runs through the already congested town. We need a relief road or a bypass or whatevery you want to call it, and the town definitely needs a traffic management survey to address the current, often chaotic, scenes that this busy town faces on a daily basis.’
The Southern Star understands that in 2012 a survey was completed by the TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) in preparation for the bypass that was, at the time, planned for the town.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) feels that Bantry must have a solution to the traffic problems.
‘I believe that the Council should still proceed with a traffic study, despite what the Council executive feel. When our delegation met with the Minister and TII in Dublin last week, we raised the traffic flow issues in and around Bantry, showing photos of pinch points such as on Marina St on the Glengarriff road, which is part of the N71,’ Cllr Hayes said.
‘There was a bypass planned and this needs to go ahead now, this is the ideal solution,’ Cllr Pat Gerard Murphy (FF) said. ‘We almost had the bypass over the line back in 2012 and at the time a survey would have been carried out for this. As far as I know, the information is at hand and needs to be acted on. If this is not the case then other alternatives need to be put in place immediately.’
However, a reply from the county manager’s office makes it clear that Bantry will not see a traffic management plan anytime in the near future.
‘I can confirm that the Council considers a Traffic Management Survey is not warranted at this stage,’ a spokesperson for county chief executive Tim Lucey told The Southern Star.
This is a view that chair of the Municipal District of West Cork (MDWC), Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) agrees with:
‘I can understand why Bantry would request a dedicated traffic management survey to be carried out and, while I accept that there are some traffic issues in Bantry, as there are in all towns in West Cork, it’s fair to say they are not of the scale of Castletownbere at present that would warrant a full traffic study.
‘For this reason, it’s not immediately on the Council’s work plans,’ Cllr Hurley said.