Explanations given by County Hall officials as to why changes were made to the upgrade of the Shannonpark roundabout have been branded insufficient and unsatisfactory.
Works are ongoing at the frequently-congested roundabout near Carrigaline, but there are concerns that traffic will not be significantly improved as originally intended. The main issue is that a dedicated slip road to Ringaskiddy, seen as key by many, has been removed from the plan.
Fianna Fáil councillor Seamus McGrath and other councillors raised the issue at a Southern Committee meeting in County Hall yesterday.
“The key question is why the dedicated slip road to Ringaskiddy was removed from the approved plan?” Mr McGrath said afterwards. “The answer we received stated that this was done because there were changes to design standards for major junctions and for safety reasons it was removed. Of course, this answer is not satisfactory.”
The councillors also asked why the changes were not brought back to the Council to be approved but was told they were marginal and therefore didn’t need approval.
Mr McGrath said he disagreed completely with that assessment: "The National Roads Office/TII believed they had the legal authority to proceed with the changes to the project. I certainly do not agree that the removal of the slip lane was a marginal change."
Councillors have asked for a report on how the decision made.
Engineers involved told councillors that the aims of the Shannonpark project, to improve the capacity of the roundabout from a traffic perspective, will still be achieved.
“I accept there will be an improvement for traffic entering the roundabout from the Ringaskiddy side due to the lengthening of the 2nd lane and the addition of a 3rd lane for Carrigaline bound traffic,” Mr McGrath said.
“However, outside of that arm of the roundabout, the benefits of the project from a traffic point of view are negligible and certainly would not justify the expenditure to date (given that the slip lane was removed).”