A COUNCIL engineer has urged public representatives not to get in the way of a €2.6m project to resurface a stretch of the road between Glengarriff and Kenmare.
The Beara-based engineer, Aidan Prendergast, said the last time there was an objection to proposed resurfacing works at the Caha Pass, the project was shelved for six years.
At a meeting of the West Cork Municipal District in Bantry, the engineer confirmed that the project is just one of two projects that is going to be carried out in the area.
He made his comments after Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) had tabled a motion proposing that the resurfacing work be put back a few weeks from mid-October until after the October Bank Holiday weekend in order to help businesses, at either side of the county border, maximise the tail end of the tourism season.
One of the two projects will see Cork County Council spend €2.6m on resurfacing the road in mid-October – a project that could take between three to four weeks to complete and would necessitate 24-hour closures.
On the other side of the border, Kerry County Council will be starting work on the tunnel at the end of September, but the local authority has bowed to public pressure and will be carrying out the works at night in a bid to minimise traffic disruption.
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’.
He said the Council – subject to the agreement of Transport Infrastructure Ireland – could reduce the overall disruption by reducing the overall amount of the road to be resurfaced, but none of the councillors favoured that option. They said all of the resurfacing works were ‘vital.’
As for pushing the project out a couple of weeks, the engineer advised the councillors that the work ‘needs to be carried out in weather conditions that would not compromise the quality of the finished product.’ He said even a couple of weeks could mean a huge variation in temperatures and that could then undermine the work.
Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG) summed up the situation by saying: ‘It is a bit of a Catch-22.’ On one hand, she said, the business community could do with extending the season, but, on the other, they were also relying on having the road resurfaced and upgraded.
County mayor Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) agreed saying that a €2.6m resurfacing project would make the road good for another 20 years.