Council urged to find engineering solution to dangerous junction
1,000 locals have signed petition opposing council plan to close Waterloo Junction
Local residents say closing it will add miles to their local journeys.
Fianna Fail Cllr Bob Ryan said the proposal by Cork County Council to close the Waterloo Junction on the N20 some seven kms from Cork city was not acceptable as it was causing huge inconvenience for locals in the Waterloo, Whitechurch and Blarney areas.
“Councillors are totally opposed to the proposal to close the right of way and it will definitely be defeated. We met with the council engineers two weeks ago and are meeting with them again on 20th September and we’ll see what they propose but there has to be a common sense resolution,” he said.
Cllr Ryan was speaking after the Waterloo Access Group delivered a petition signed by 1,000 people to Cork County Hall seeking to keep the junction open as it cuts off the community in Waterloo from their local school in Whitechurch as well as social activities at the adjacent community centre
Chairperson of Whitechurch Parents Association, Cliona Browne told Cork’s Red FM that closing the junction was adding an extra 12-14 miles for parents from Waterloo when they bring their children to school while it was also adding to their journey for social and sporting activities.
According to a Cork County Council report, there have been 13 serious accidents at the junction in the last four years with the most serious all occurring when motorists coming south from Mallow on the N20 turn right and cross the outbound lane from Cork to turn off for Waterloo and Blarney.
The report found seven of these accidents involved overseas tourists unfamiliar with the area and driving hired cars with three of those involved in accidents confirming that they were following satellite navigation instructions when they opted to cross the outbound lane to access the junction.
Cork County Council took the decision to close off the junction after two serious accidents in the past 12 months including one when two American tourists were killed when their car was involved in a crash as it turned right at the junction on September 11th 2017.
Just over six months later, an American tourist was seriously injured when executing a similar manoeuvre turning right on the Cork-Mallow road when heading towards Cork in order to visit Blarney Castle with both American drivers following sat-nav directions on how to reach Blarney.
Cork County Council engineers examined the junction and found that of the 21,725 cars and vans using the N20 daily, approximately 990 southbound vehicles were completing right hand turns across the northbound lane to turn off at the Waterloo junction.
According to the council report, anecdotal evidence would suggest that the Waterloo junction is used by people from North Cork as an alternative means of accessing the Apple Campus in Hollyhill in Cork city and also as a means of getting to the Dell/EMC and VMWare sites in Ballincollig.
Among the options proposed by the Cork County Council engineers was closing off the right turn and allowing only left in and left out turns at the junction, which was supported by gardaí and which would cost €150,000 and reduce accidents by an estimated 80 per cent while keeping the junction open.
Another option proposed by the council engineering staff involved improving signage along the route, directing traffic from Mallow and Limerick to use another access road to Blarney where they can cross via an underpass. This would cost €40,000 but which would reduce accidents by just 15per cent
A third option involved extending the existing dual carriageway, which leads out of Cork city, to cover the Waterloo Junction which would similarly cut off right hand turn access to Waterloo and would cost €10million and reduce accidents by an estimated 95 per cent.
The final option, which council engineers recommended, was closing off the Waterloo Junction which would cost €90,000 and would also reduce accidents by an estimated 95per cent but the move looks set to be defeated by councillors when they vote on the proposal later this month.