CORK City Council has defended the Wilton Corridor Project following an angry and vocal demonstration from local residents.
Under the plan, some residents stand to lose several metres from their gardens as the project seeks to widen Wilton Road to six lanes, including two cycle lanes, two bus lanes and two car lanes.
Residents hit out at City Hall, claiming there has been a lack of consultation on the project and no cost-benefit analysis.
In a statement to The Echo, a Cork City Council spokesperson said the project, which will be voted on by councillors on Monday, has a number of benefits which were assessed as part of the Cork South West/Central Strategic Transport Corridor Study.
The Study, which was commissioned by City Hall in conjunction with the National Transport Authority and undertaken by Clifton Scannell Emerson Consulting Engineers, identified transport infrastructural deficiencies in the area.
It recommended a list of prioritised investment using a cost versus benefits evaluation process with regard to the level of grant funding available.
Cork City Council said that the proposed solutions focused on the delivery and promotion of sustainable transport infrastructure.
“The Wilton Corridor were deemed to be of the highest priority due to its potential to remove traffic blockages, support sustainable travel modes, reduce journey time and improve safety,” a spokesperson said.
“The corridor is considered to be critically important for access between the city centre and key destinations in the western suburbs, including Cork University Hospital, Cork Institute of Technology, University College Cork, Bon Secours Hospital, County Council Offices and Boston Scientific.”
Refuting the suggestion that there has not been enough consultation between City Hall and the residents, the spokesperson said: “Cork City Council engineers had a large number of meetings with local representatives, affected residents and the resident group throughout the public consultation phase for the project.
“The residents’ group alone had three meetings with the project team lasting in excess of six hours - therefore it is surprising to hear that the residents were not consulted.”
At the protest at Dennehy’s Cross on Wednesday, residents vowed to chain themselves to diggers to prevent the project from going ahead.
John Bowman from the Wilton Community Action Group (WCAG) said people are willing to do whatever it takes to stop the project.
“Local grannies are willing to chain themselves to diggers,” he said.
He described the plan as “a total waste of money” which has been rejected by locals.