THERE was a widespread welcome this week for the news that the surface of the N71 between Leap and Lisavaird is to be upgraded, but a question mark still hangs over funding for the notorious stretch of road near Owenahincha, the scene of several fatal accidents in recent years.
However, The Southern Star learned this week that plans for an improvement realignment scheme for the section of road close to Owenahincha Cross are at design stage with Cork County Council, although there is still no commitment to funding from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).
Meanwhile, money has been allocated to sections of the N71 further north. Cork South West TD Jim Daly confirmed this week that a major upgrade of the road surface is to take place.
‘The upgrade at Lisavaird will commence at the Curragh, west of Clonakilty, and will continue through Lisavaird until it ties into a previously resurfaced section at Newmills, Rosscarbery,’ said the FG deputy.
‘Priority Construction has been appointed to carry out the works to this 3.6km stretch of road, with work expected to begin this month and take approximately three months to complete,’ he said.
Deputy Daly said he was also particularly pleased to get confirmation that TII has given the go-ahead to Cork County Council to tender the job of resurfacing the entire pavement running through Leap village. This is a section from Dromillihy Wood to immediately west of Leap village, at the speed limit sign, and again filling in between two sections of the N71, which was resurfaced over the last few years.
‘When I first started lobbying for a new surface in Leap a number of years ago, I was disappointed when the former National Roads Authority (NRA) informed me they would surface the village, but not until 2016. Now that time has passed, and I am happy that they stuck to their word,’ said Deputy Daly.
‘It’s clear to see that the Leap business people are ‘get up and go people’ and are doing a great job keeping their village vibrant and relevant. These works will compliment their efforts,’ he added.
Cllr Noel O’Donovan (FG) also said he was delighted with the progress and that his focus was now on pushing ahead to remove the bad bend at Bohonagh, Rosscarbery.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF), who is a member of the Roads Special Purposes Committee, also welcomed the announcement and said more work is needed to make that stretch of road safer for all road users.
‘My main concern is to get that bad bend cut, as this particular stretch of road is lethal. But we’re still left in limbo as we don’t have the money ring-fenced from TII,’ said Cllr Hayes.