The Cobh / Glanmire Municipal District has given a cautious welcome to a report which has the potential to increase employment by 5,000 at one of the country’s main industrial powerhouses. The Little Island Transport and Traffic Study is to be phased in over the next 20 years, with a series of strategies designed to ease congestion.
There is an estimated 1,000 people living close to almost 1,000 businesses employing tens of thousands in the area and, at peak times, the Island’s traffic grinds to a halt. The study has raised serious questions, with Cllrs claiming the reports finding could be skewed by incorrect statistical data. According to the CH2MBarry, Systra report into traffic volumes, almost 18,000 vehicles enter and exit Little Island each week day. The figures are based on the 2016 Census results which show that just 8,500 are employed on the Island.
Cllrs voted to allow the project proceed on the basis that the Local Authority carry out a full investigation to determine exactly how many are employed on the peninsula. Fianna Fail Cllr Padraig O’Sullivan said “for most people, jobs are great but [without accurate modelling] for the 1,000 residents in Little Island it will be a prison sentence” Cllr Kieran McCarthy said he would like to see the development of a third interchange on the Eastern side, given the number of people who come from the East onto the Island daily. Council, however, has ruled this out with one official stating “the development of a third interchange would be against national guidelines which seek to protect the capacity of our strategic road infrastructure.”
The Little Island plan is said to “dove tail” into the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Study, which is funded by the National Transport Authority (NTA) and both Cork City and County Councils. The new Development Plan will dramatically change the way in which motorists access the island, supporting ease of movement and allowing residents and businesses work together to improve quality of life.
Transport bosses say the Dunkettle interchange upgrade will help provide an alternative access to the Little Island Management slip road, reducing the journey time for people getting on or off the Island. “Capacity enhancements on the main spine are going ahead this week, with further capacity enhancements proposed on main spines of the study which will help improve access for public transport and vehicular traffic” they said.
Under the scheme speed will be limited to 30kph at key locations, and a comprehensive network of cycle and walking routes will be created, linking residential areas and schools to places of employment and the train station.