Work to start within weeks on €280 million Macroom bypass, says Minister

Proposed 22km motorway is expected to ease congestion in Co Cork town

The proposed route of the new bypass.

The proposed route of the new bypass.

 

Work will commence within weeks on the long awaited €280 million Macroom bypass, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said.

Mr Creed confirmed this weekend that a contractor has been appointed by Cork County Council on behalf of Transport Infrastructure Ireland for the project and he expects work to commence shortly on the 22km stretch of motorway.

“I expect that the contractor will start establishing compounds for machinery and offices and so forth within weeks and the construction will flow straight from that with a three and a half year construction time frame for the job,” he said.

The project will see the bypass link up with the existing N22 via a roundabout at Coolcower on the eastern outskirts of Macroom before traversing the upper stretches of the Carrigadrohid Reservoir.It will go north of Macroom before travelling south of the existing route at Carrigaphooka and then skirting north of Ballyvourney and linking up again with the existing route near the county bounds, Mr Creed said.

According to Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the project will involve the construction of 18 road bridges as well as four river bridges which will cross over the Sullane, the Lana, the Foherish and Bohill rivers.

Congestion

Some 14,000 vehicles travel the route daily at present but the proposed bypass will be designed to cater for over 20,000 a day.

Mr Creed said that a cost-benefit analysis on the project had clearly shown it would be of major benefit, not just to the town of Macroom but also to surrounding villages like Ballyvourney as well as people living in Kerry.

“The cost benefit analysis is significant and if you walk through the town of Macroom any day of the week and you see the congestion that’s there, you quickly realise how important a piece of infrastructure this bypass will be.

“The quality of life for people living in town will improve - when I grew up in the town years ago, people lived on Main Street and on New Street but those streets have been shelled out as a result of the heavy traffic.

“But now there is a real possibility of the centre of Macroom becoming a living town again and that has to be one of the great benefits as well as the quality of life for people who use the town with heavy traffic being removed,” he said.

“The other thing is we have haemorrhaged our natural catchment area to Cork city and Killarney - nobody comes east or west any more for business so reclaiming the reach of the town from a commercial point of view will be great,” he added.

It will also improve safety, he said.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland has said the bypass will lead to savings in travel times of between 11 and 17 minutes depending on where a journey starts and ends and depending on the level of congestion in Macroom town.

Although construction work on the entire project will take some three and a half years to complete it is expected the Macroom section, providing a diversion around the town, could be completed and opened earlier, it added.