Plan To Add an Extra Lane To Little Island Access Roads To Ease Traffic Congestion

By Seamus Whelehan

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A Plan to add an extra lane to the East Gate Bridge near Little Island, to ease congestion is to go on public display shortly.
The proposal, which could dramatically change the way motorists access the island, include the addition of an extra lane to the up ramps to little Island close to the N25.
The Crompain roundabout will also undergo a makeover, to accommodate two lane traffic at East Gate, while a second lane will be created towards the north to Ballytrasna, in order to relieve outbound capacity in the evenings.
The council say the plan will not entirely alleviate the congestion, but it would go a long way to improving access.
The authority’s senior transport engineer Peter O’Donoghue told a special sitting of the Cobh / Glanmire Municipality, the Dunkettle interchange project presented “a unique opportunity” to improve traffic flow on and off the island.
Mr Donoghue added, he expected traffic management reports on Little Island and Metropolitan Cork to be completed in the coming months, which would complement the planned changes.
He said the Dunkettle interchange upgrade, would also provide an alternative access to replace the Little Island management slip road and provide an overpass, reducing the pressure on the Jack Lynch tunnel.
Once the public consultation period has expired, the next step will be for detailed plans for the delivery of the scheme to be finalised by the county council, working closely with the contractor.
If planning is granted it’s expected the work will take up to 14 weeks for completion, with a start date expected this June.
Cobh municipality chairman Padraig O’Sullivan who has long campaigned for improvements in the area, said while he welcomed the plan, the extra capacity gave the opportunity to encourage people to car pool and accommodate a return of busses to the area.
A recent study discovered 87% of people travel by car to little island, with just 6% using the rail network.
While Mr O’Donoghue agreed with the Cllr he said high occupancy vehicle lanes scarcely make a dent in relieving major traffic congestion. However he said the bus would benefit from the general traffic improvements.
The senior transport engineer added while the plan on show is a short term measure, the pending traffic management studies would explore further ways in reducing the capacity on our roads.
Fine Gael Cllr Sinead Sheppard said “ideally we have a long way to go, to get the traffic where it should be in Little Island and this goes a long way in easing what’s there.”
Labour Cllr Cathal Rasmussen said the scheme should prove to be a vital improvement to the Little Island transport network, to support the existing community, housing developments as well as the Island’s industrial hub.
There is an estimated 1,000 people living close to almost 1,000 businesses employing tens of thousands in the area, come peak times the islands traffic grinds to a halt.
In 2009, Cork County Council completed a traffic management study of the area. The study recommended the upgrading of seven junctions, six were approved by full council for funding.
In 2013, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (then NRA) funded the signalisation of the Ballytrasna junction.
The upgrade improved pedestrian crossing facilities at the heavily used junction.
In 2015, Transport Infrastructure Ireland ring-fenced funding for the upgrade of Little Island cross. The project was dependant on land acquisition for the necessary space to implement the junction upgrade.

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