Skibbereen by-pass to take 9,000 cars out of town daily


A chronic traffic bottleneck in west Cork is to be removed this morning with the opening of the Skibbereen by-pass.

The single carriageway by- pass to the north of Skibbereen town has been described by the National Roads Authority as an important development in maintaining the west Cork tourist trade and enhancing its commercial potential.

It is expected to remove up to 9,000 vehicles a day from the centre of Skibbereen and ease congestion, particularly in the busy summer months.

The authority will use the opening to also announce that the long awaited Kildare town by-pass will open next Monday.

The N17 is a scenic route frequented by tourists which runs from Killarney, Co Kerry, to Cork city passing through the towns and villages of Kenmare, Glengariff, Bantry, Ballydehob, Skibbereen, Leap, Clonakilty, Bandon and Innishannon.

The by-pass, which includes a 70-metre three-span bridge over the Ilen, starts on the western approach to Skibbereen at Marsh and joins the Cork road just east of Gortnaclohy. It was built at a cost of just €7.7million.

Mr Michael Tobin, the chief executive of the National Roads Authority, told The Irish Times that the Skibbereen by-pass would "provide a reduction in journey times by as much as 20 minutes at peak times".

The chronic traffic congestion, which, he said, was "a daily battle for motorist and pedestrian alike", would be a thing of the past. "Not only will this benefit the region's thriving tourist trade but it will add a competitive edge to the market town of Skibbereen."

There is further good news for motorists this morning with the announcement that the Kildare town by-pass will open next week. The move will provide motorway or high-grade dual carriageway from Monasterevin, Co Kildare, via the M50 to Dundalk, Co Louth.

The 12km Kildare by-pass is expected to take up to 30 minutes off the journey between Dublin and the south and south-west. It will take 17,000 vehicles a day out of Kildare town centre.

The by-pass gave rise to a decade of environmental concern focusing on the habitat of the Pollardstown whorl snail (angistora vertiego).

Unfortunately last year's unprecedented rainfall had a significant impact on the population of the rare whorl snail, when many of them drowned following a rise in water levels.