Seanad debates

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Commencement Matters

Road Projects Status

10:30 am

Photo of Tim LombardTim Lombard (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The matter I raise is the western relief road to Carrigaline, a town whose population has grown by an astonishing amount in recent decades. Carrigaline, which sits on the southern side of Cork city, has been one of the five largest growth areas in the State in the past ten years, recording population growth of more than 20,000 in that period. Unfortunately, this growth has not been matched by infrastructure development. While recent investment in schools has been greatly appreciated, one of the key issues facing residents is core infrastructure, specifically the road network serving the town.

Carrigaline lacks a western relief road to take pressure off the town's main street which is used by up to 18,000 vehicles daily. The lack of a second main street or western relief road has a major impact on the quality of life of its residents. Plans for a relief road were drawn up as the town developed. More than 15 years ago, the relief road proposal was included in the county development plan and Part 8 planning permission was secured for the project some years ago. The design process has been completed and the project is now shovel-ready. All that is lacking is the money to ensure the project to proceeds. The cost of the project has been estimated at between €6 million and €8 million. I acknowledge that an infrastructure fund is in place in Cork and that Cork County Council has applied to it for funding. However, we need to secure support from the Minister and his Department to press ahead with this key project.

A new relief road would change how Carrigaline functions. In terms of spatial strategy, we have seen the overheating of Dublin and in many ways Carrigaline is overheating as a result of substantial population growth. We need to follow up on this growth by providing infrastructure. It is not feasible to have between 15,000 and 18,000 cars using one main street every day. All the traffic modelling has been done and we know what the solution is. The planning process has concluded and we now need cash to ensure this infrastructure can be provided to enable the town to develop.

The country development plan contains significant plans to develop Carrigaline. One development at Shannon Park could provide more than 1,200 houses. This is on a scale seen primarily in Dublin. Key road infrastructure is needed because the construction of another 1,200 houses in the next five or six years without the construction of the relief road would, unfortunately, result in chaos. We must avoid such a scenario. I hope we can get the ball rolling and press ahead with the relief road because Carrigaline needs infrastructure.


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