HOMEOWNERS and businesses affected by the closure of the road from Glengarriff to Kenmare will be given access, according to local councillor Danny Collins (Ind).
Cllr Collins said he had been given notice that work on the €2.2m project to resurface 10km of road way leading from Glengarriff village to Turner’s Rock on the Kenmare Road would commence on January 28th and be completed in time for St Patrick’s Day.
‘I welcome the timing of this,’ said Cllr Collins, who had been lobbying to have the work carried out during an off-peak period, ‘because none of the businesses in Bantry and Glengarriff area wanted the work to be carried out during the height of the tourism season.’
According to Cllr Collins: ‘Paddy’s Day is a key date in the diary of all of the businesses in the area because it signifies the start of the tourism season.’
The councillor acknowledged that the two-month project – which is to be carried out in two phases – is going to cause a lot of disruption to people travelling to and from Glengarriff and Kenmare, but he said he had received assurances that people living in the area would be accommodated.
He also voiced local people’s concerns that the project – like some of the infrastructure work that is being carried out in West Cork – could encounter delays because the work will be weather-dependant.
However, Cllr Collins said he was optimistic that the project will be completed on time and to a very high standard, and not need to be resurfaced for another 20 years, or more.
The first phase of the project from January 28th to February 15th will see staff in operation from 7.30am until 8pm and a traffic light system will be in operation during night-time hours.
Phase two – in the lead-up to March 16th – will involve a full 24-hour road closure of the N71 from the junction of the N71 and the R572 in Glengarriff village to Turner’s Rock Tunnel.
Cllr Collins said the road closure is necessary due to the narrow width of the road and the decision to make a closure order was taken ‘in the interests of road workers’ safety,’ but he said local homeowners and businesses would be allowed vehicular access.