A COUPLE with an 11-month-old baby have moved out of their home at Glengarriff Road in Bantry and taken an Airbnb in Durrus because of the noise disturbance and pollution caused by roadworks in the town.
‘For six weeks the road was being dug up during the day which was bad enough,’ Jodi O’Donoghue told The Southern Star, ‘but now they are working on constructing a new footpath at night, from 7pm until 6am for 21 nights.
‘There was so much noise, dust, smoke and diesel fumes coming in the window, we had no choice but to move. It was affecting the health of my child,’ she said.
‘I did try and speak to the Council and the contractor but I didn’t get any satisfaction. For us, the situation is unliveable, so we have no choice but to move.
‘It has been torturous for me, my partner Noel, and my 11-month-old son Shia. We have really suffered.’
Jodi said the family will be staying in Durrus for a week because that was all that was available to them.
‘We will have to play it by ear and move again,’ she added. ‘It’s so stressful, living out of a bag with a baby.’
Meanwhile, business and homeowners were also frustrated by a break in the water supply in one of the busiest parts of town – including New Street, High Street and Bridge Street – on Tuesday night.
The county mayor CllrDanny Collins (Ind) said Irish Water had identified a leak and cut supply for a couple of hours. He said pressure in the supply had to be eased to avoid causing damage to local properties.
‘It was a problem that needed to be fixed,’ he said, ‘and Irish Water were on site between 6am and 10am on Wednesday morning to fix the problem.’
A spokesperson for Irish Water apologised for any inconvenience this unplanned outage caused to approximately 300 customers.
While the late night roadworks are driving some residents to distraction, some motorists say they see the wisdom in easing daytime traffic restrictions. After waiting more than a decade for the crumbling surface of Glengarriff Road – from the town’s main square to Donemark about 3km away – to be improved, a major project commenced over a month ago.
Some have welcomed the fact that the work will provide Bantry with a superior new road surface, and new footpaths, as well as reconnecting subterranean water and sewage pipes.
However, others are complaining about the decision to do the work during the peak summer months.
Complaints have also been made about the need to have two operations sites – one coming from Donemark and one in the town going towards Donemark – running at the same time, saying it has led to unduly long traffic delays.
Traffic flow is being managed by a stop-start traffic light system but some motorists claim it is taking them 40 minutes to get to town.
It was the decision to work on one section of the roadway – the narrowest part of Glengarriff Road nearest the town square – at night, that has pushed some residents to their limits.
Hannah Dare, the co-owner of Organico at Glengarriff Road, said she understands the frustration of residents who will have to listen to the noisy roadworks until July 25th next.
‘We empathise with the residents,’ she said. ‘For them it is awful, especially for working families with young children.’
But she pointed out that the road had been in a ‘dangerous and crumbling condition’ and everyone, residents and business people alike, had been complaining about it for a decade.
‘The work is disruptive,’ she said. ‘If we could have waved a magic wand we’d have said “don’t do the road works in West Cork in summer”, especially after having a tough few years. But, at the same time, we want the work done,’ she added. ‘When they are finished, we are going to have an amazing new road and footpaths.’ The Southern Star asked Cork County Council for a comment, but none was available at time of going to press.