THE Department of Transport will be asked to upgrade the status of a regional road in east Cork which is carrying approximately 50,000 trucks a year.
The Whitegate to Midleton Road (R630) is a regional route which runs from a junction with the N25 as far as the Whitegate Oil Refinery - operated by Irving Oil.
The road also provides access to the Aghada electricity supply station, Trabolgan Holiday centre and Roches Point Lighthouse and has a daily traffic count of 9,352 vehicles, with a Heavy Goods Vehicle percentage of 3.5%.
Almost 48,000 trucks visited the oil refinery in 2016, according to figures supplied to County Hall by Irving Oil.
County Hall deputy chief executive Declan Daly said these numbers are likely to have increased further and a reclassification, from a regional road to a national primary road, would allow the local authority more scope in securing maintenance funds from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).
“This is something that was brought up years ago but was never progressed. There is a very strong case to be made,” he said.
“I don't believe there was ever a formal submission made before. The fundamental difference it would make is that we would be in a better position to provide resources through TII for its maintenance over time.
“The decision for this does not lie with the TII but the Department of Transport. Irving Oil has pointed to the importance of this road to their operations," he added.
Danielle Twomey (SF) said there is a “huge case” that the road should be upgraded due to the influx in recent years of HGVs.
Michael Ahern (FF) said leaving the road at its current status would be "disastrous".
“Not only do you have the oil refinery, but you have Aghada electricity station and Trabolgan and there are large increases in population.
“It would be a disaster if the Government does not go ahead with upgrading the road to national level,” he added.