FINE Gael Senator, Tim Lombard has called for more funding to be allocated in the Capital Plan review to complete the Bandon Relief Road Extension. This follows a recent meeting that the Cork- based Senator had with Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan in the Seanad.
‘Bandon is the gateway to West Cork and consequently a lot of traffic moves through a town that is not structurally designed for the high volume and excess traffic, particularly HGV’s, which are an issue for the town centre,’ said Senator Lombard.
‘Traffic currently has to negotiate a number of roundabouts, steep gradients and priority junctions within the built up area of Bandon. The N71 in this area is also heavily trafficked, with a AADT (Annual Average Daily Traffic) between 9,000 and 14,000 and an HGV presence of up to 5%.’
‘We need a plan to reduce thoroughfare traffic and enable the town centre to be more accessible for people and pedestrians. One of the key infrastructures proposed is a by-pass road, specifically the N71 Bandon Relief Road Extension, which would direct the bulk of traffic away from the town centre.’
The proposed relief road extension in Bandon involves bridging over the R603 to remove the existing steep gradient as well as the construction of approx. 2.5km of a new single-carriageway connecting back into the existing N71 just west of the township. The estimated cost of this project is estimated to cost about €7.5m.
‘The N71 Bandon Relief Road Extension is a potential improvement scheme for Ireland’s road network, however, it is not currently in a position to progress due to lack of funding.
At present this project is not included in the Capital Plan so there is little prospect of it being progressed in the short term.’
‘There is a strong case for additional funding for the transport sector and I will be calling for the Bandon by-pass scheme to be included within the reviewed funding allocation which the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform indicated in his budget speech earlier this year,’ added Senator Lombard.