THE Innishannon bypass has essentially been shelved by the government, claimed Social Democrat leader Holly Cairns.
‘In response to my parliamentary question, the Minister for Transport informed me that the “advancement of this proposed scheme therefore cannot be accommodated in the National Roads Programme at this point in time.”
‘If a project is not included in the National Development Plan, it is unlikely to get funding,’ she said.
‘Tailbacks stretch out to either side of the village every morning and evening, and there will be the extra summer traffic in a few months. In essence, this community is divided in two by the sheer volume of vehicles. There is a very strong case for this project. I cannot understand why it is not being prioritised by the government,’ the Cork South West TD said.
Figures she received from the Department of Transport reveal there is an average between 9,000 and 14,000 vehicles daily on the Bandon Innishannon section of the N71, of which heavy goods vehicles comprise up to 5%. Bandon, she said, has been waiting years for improvement, and the planning and design phase of the new road is due to be finished by late 2024.
‘I have repeatedly asked the government if there is any way to advance this process as the incline on the current relief road means many HGVs and other large vehicles are being forced through the historic town centre.
‘I am also concerned at the plan’s limitation when there is an opportunity to address the two river crossings as traffic bottlenecks. The dangerous junction at Baxter’s Bridge with the 586 Bandon to Enniskeane road also needs to be addressed. While I welcome the recent announcement of €60,000 for works on that intersection, more investment is clearly needed.’