Plans finally afoot for footpaths in densely populated Cork suburb

Plans finally afoot for footpaths in densely populated Cork suburb

A section of the road at Matthew Hill in the Lehenaghbeg/Lehenaghmore area. Picture: Denis Minihane

A PROPOSAL for a long-awaited road project in Cork is to be published later this month, because 1,500 people have been ‘stranded’ by a lack of infrastructure for more than a decade.

The lack of pedestrian infrastructure, including footpaths and streetlights, on the L2455 Road Project, at Lehenaghbeg/Lehenaghmore, on the southside of Cork City, has been raised at local and national level for more than a decade.

A number of housing estates have been built in the area over the past 15 years, but the residents have told The Echo that walking or cycling is “treacherous”, particularly in the dark winter.

Residents and local politicians have been calling for action, first urging Cork County Council to act and then urging City Hall, following the boundary extension.

In an email to Seamus McGrath, Fianna Fáil councillor, in the past week, City Hall engineers said preliminary design drawings for the Lehenaghmore road-widening project were under review, and that they were aiming to publish Part 8 proposals later this month, before a public-consultation period.

A section of the road in the Lehenaghmore area.
A section of the road in the Lehenaghmore area.

The scope of work has been expanded to provide for footpaths on both sides of the road, an outbound cycle lane, bus bays, widened carriageways, street lighting, and pedestrian crossings, all of which will result in land acquisition from owners of adjoining property.

While residents and local politicians welcomed the news, they received similar information more than a year ago, with little or no progress since.

In June last year, residents were informed by City Hall engineers that they hoped to publish Part 8 proposals by the end of 2019.

City Hall engineers also hoped to progress with “land acquisition, detailed design, and construction tendering scheduled for 2020, subject to planning and funding approval”.

More than 15 months since that email, Part 8 proposals are yet to be published.

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, who has raised the issue in the Dáil recently, said the project is “long overdue”.

“Residents have been let down for almost 15 years and the city council need to make it an urgent priority,” Mr Ó Laoghaire said.

“I’m encouraged to hear we’re nearing the public consultation phase, but we’ve heard that before,” he added.

“It’s important that deadlines are met this time and it’s also crucial that if it seems this project will take time, the city council examine interim measures.”

A section of the road at Matthew Hill in the Lehenaghbeg/Lehenaghmore area.
A section of the road at Matthew Hill in the Lehenaghbeg/Lehenaghmore area.

Mr Ó Laoghaire said funding must be immediately available once plans for the road are approved.

Mr McGrath, who worked with residents in the area before and after the boundary extension, said: “The recent update from city council states that it is intended to proceed with the planning phase in the next few weeks and that would represent a significant step forward.

“However, I am still concerned about the timeline for the delivery of the project on the ground, post the planning phase, and I would like to see a clear commitment from the council on this,” Mr McGrath said.

“This is a heavily developed area and residents do not have basic infrastructure, such as footpaths,” he added.

“This project must be treated as top priority, going forward.”

Cork City and County Council were contacted for comment.

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