Senior Council Official Admits It Could Be Years Before Fota Road Is Upgraded

By Seamus Whelehan

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One of Cork County Council’s Senior Executives has admitted that “it could be years” before plans are developed to upgrade the R634 Fota Road.

Local Cllrs have been criticising successive Governments for failing, over 40 years, to recognise the strategic importance of the only route into Cobh from the N25.

At present the Island’s main artery does not feature on the National Planning Framework, which aims to boost infrastructure outside the Capital.

The strategy sets out strategic planning and development across the country for the next two decades.

In 2019 Cork County Council submitted a proposal to the Department of Transport for the reclassification of the regional road.

However, the Department requested a series of revisions to the Appraisal Plan which, Council say, they will resubmit by the end of this year.

Director of Roads and Transportation, Padraig Barrett, told a recent Sitting of the County Southern Committee that an upgrade to the R634 from Cobh Cross into Cobh could cost the tax payer €100,000,000 with an additional €6,000,000 to design the improvements.

Mr Barrett said it could take up to two years before a route is designed.

“You first have to prove a need for it and then a business case.  After that it’s a case of picking options for different routes, and there is at least two years’ work in that.”

“Being on the edge of Cork Harbour with a number of special protection areas, there are a lot constraints to be considered” he said.

Since 2002 the Fota Road has had a number of partial make overs. The first was in 2002 when work was carried out ahead of the Irish Open which was held at Fota Island Golf Club.  A second partial upgrade was completed in 2014 also prior to the golf club at Fota hosting the Irish Open.

In 2015 a 1,000 metre section stretching from Belvelly North to Slatty Bridge was completed as part of the Authority’s tarring project and, in 2016, the Southern section of the road received attention.

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