COUNTY Hall’s Director of Roads says people could be safely cycling to the city from commuter towns such as Carrigaline and Carrigtwohill within ten years.
Padraig Barrett has outlined the ambitious cycle network being planned to connect commuter towns to the city and other employment hubs.
In an interview with The Echo, he said Cork County Council is working towards a complete overhaul in how people travel to and from work, colleges and schools over the next five to ten years.
This would involve the implementation of safe cycle routes from all the main towns in the immediate commuter belt.
“If the level of funding we have today continues and if we don’t hit an economic slump again, I would hope in five to ten years we could achieve that," Mr Barrett said.
This year’s allocation from the Department of Transport for regional and local roads is €58m.
In 2016 the budget allocation was just €29.5m.
Mr Barrett said there is huge momentum behind plans to upgrade cycling infrastructure but that funding needs to be readily available when projects are approved.
“Each project needs to be planned, each project needs to go through a process. You would hope the day you are through the planning process, funding is available.”
Mr Barrett, who lives in Carrigaline and is a keen cyclist, says infrastructure is crucial.
“I cycle Carr’s Hill on the weekend when there is no traffic, but that’s it,” he said.
While cycling infrastructure has become a key priority, Mr Barrett admitted there was huge delight in County Hall recently when contracts were signed for the Macroom Bypass, a crucial road project to improve journey times between Cork and Kerry.
The project will also unclog Macroom town centre, which has been one of the most congested towns in the country for years.
He described signing the contracts as 'getting the pig to fly'.
“Having come through ten years of bringing the project together and having it ready and through all of the current legislation that is there today in the current public spending code, we got the pig to fly.”
Meanwhile, following on from the recession there is a serious amount of repair work to do on Cork county roads.
“The lost eight to nine years of funding means we have a county now with very bad roads. We got €58m last week, but we have a lot of catching up to do in terms of repairing roads and bring them into a reasonable condition," he said.