A new boardwalk and floating pontoon are to be built on Cork's Albert Quay as part of a major street upgrade project to allow the area to act as a gateway to the Cork Docklands.
The €6.5 million plans are centred on Albert Quay and Victoria Road and will include more than 700 metres of protected two-way cycle track, 520 metres of new bus lanes and five new pedestrian crossings.
The Docklands to City Centre Road Network Improvement Scheme was unveiled to City Councillors this week.
The project is centred on Victoria Road, Albert Quay and Albert Road along with the historic Hibernian Buildings and will also stretch as far as City Hall and Jury's Inn.
The areas will all see upgraded streetscapes with wider footpaths and cycle lanes, new trees, pedestrian crossings and new bus lanes.
A new boardwalk is to be built on Albert Quay, in front of the former Sextant bar running as far as The Idle Hour. The boardwalk will include a new coffee dock or restaurant and a floating pontoon for boats and leisure craft. The plans include a possible new bridge that may cross the River Lee in the future at the corner of Albert Quay and Victoria Road.
Under the plans, Victoria Road outside Goldberg's Bar is set for a complete redevelopment with wide, protected cycle lanes and new inbound bus lane and wider footpaths.
Albert Quay is already undergoing major redevelopment. Work is nearing completion of a major office development by O'Callaghan Properties at Navigation House. Developers JCD are also expected to announce redevelopment plans for the Carey's site that will include the former Sextant bar which closed its doors at the weekend. In recent years, JCD also completed the development of One Albert Quay where Johnson Controls is the main tenant.
The Cork Docklands has been identified as an area for ambitious large-scale regeneration projects as Cork city and suburbs is set to grow to at least 315,000 people.
The street improvements have been approved for funding under the Project Ireland 2040 fund announced last year by the Government which aims to see Cork as Ireland's fastest growing city for the next two decades.
Former Lord Mayor, Cllr Terry Shannon said the plans for the area were very impressive and something this historic part of Cork has been demanding for some time now.
"We have been calling for these changes for a long time and it is a positive development," he said.
"This part of Cork historically had a very strong sense of community and these developments should reinforce that."
The planning application for the project will be published next month with City Hall officials hoping construction could begin in October or November taking 12 months to complete.
"I would hope to see an extensive public consultation process that ensures there is strong backing from the people living in the area for these plans," Cllr Shannon said.
"Rather than just putting the plans on display in City Hall, I am asking for specific public consultation days to take place in the area where the public can meet with the planners and ask the engineers any questions."