Cork Senator, Tim Lombard, has expressed the need for prioritising investment in the proposed Bandon Southern Relief Road project.
The proposal to extend the Bandon Southern Relief Road involves constructing a bridge over the R63, which would override the existing steep terrain, after which a 2.5 km single carriageway would be built connecting to the western side of the town.
Senator Tim Lombard said: “The need to prioritise the Bandon Southern Relief Road is of upmost importance.
“Bandon is the gateway to West Cork; anyone wishing to go west has to travel through the town. If we can increase the potential for traffic to flow more easily through Bandon there will be a broader economic benefit to the whole of West Cork.
“One of the key issues for Bandon town itself is the sheer volume of traffic. On a daily basis anything between 9,000 and 14,000 vehicles travel through the centre and are consequently choking the town.
“A significant portion of this traffic also comprises of heavy goods vehicles, whose size and capacity are unsuited to passing through the town centre, which only intensifies congestion levels.
“The need for this traffic diversion has been recognised and proposed for many years. I have raised this issue in the Seanad a number of times, and again this week during a debate with the Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD.
“I asked the Minister to prioritise the Bandon Southern Relief Road as a key infrastructural project for the development, sustainability, and connectivity of Bandon and all of West Cork.
“Expected population increases for West Cork and Bandon in particular will only escalate the current issues. We need to swiftly develop plans to divert traffic from the city centre so Bandon and the rest of West Cork can develop in accordance with its potential.
“The approximate cost of the project is some €7.5 million and would represent a major investment in facilitating the development of the area. I would hope to see the capital budget for the Ten-Year Investment Plan increased so that this project, and other like it, can be prioritised, allocated funding, and completed in a timely manner.”