A €2.6M project to resurface a stretch of the road between Glengarriff and Kenmare has been deferred – and might not now start until the start of the tourism season.
The work leading to the tunnel at Caha Pass was supposed to have started before the October bank holiday weekend this year.
Local engineers warned that to start the work any later than that would mean colder temperatures and a possible deterioration in the quality of the road surface.
However, Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) raised the issue at a recent meeting of the West Cork Municipal District and expressed his disappointment that the works had not gone ahead as proposed.
He said local business people are concerned that the project would now be pushed back to May and disrupt the start of their tourism season.
And he called on Council officials to ensure that the work is carried out before the St Patrick’s weekend.
Cllr Collins said: ‘It is not good enough that we don’t know when the work is going to start,’ he said, adding: ‘It had seemed as if everything was all set to go.
‘As it stands, we haven’t been told when the work is going to be done, and this is causing a great deal of stress and uncertainty for people who commute from Kenmare to Glengarriff on a daily basis.’
He said: ‘There are nurses commuting to Bantry General Hospital, as well as teachers who travel that road on a daily basis to get to Derrycreha National School and Ard Scoil Phobail Bheanntrai, and they are being left in the dark.’
The councillor complained that local hoteliers and the Garinish Island ferry operators are also worried that their livelihoods will be affected if the works are carried out during the summer months.
At a previous meeting, the Council’s area engineer confirmed that the Cork County Council project could take between three to four weeks to complete and that it would necessitate 24-hour closures.
The engineer pointed out that the narrowness of the road, on the Cork side of the border, ‘dictates that a full road closure will be required for the duration.’