ONE of the busiest road junctions in the county will finally be upgraded after planning was passed by Cork County Council.
The long-awaited upgrade for the junction of Clarke’s Hill and the Rochestown Road will go ahead, despite concerns from councillors about the lack of cycle lanes and the number of sets of traffic lights that will be installed.
The plans were the subject of 22 submissions, with a number of them focusing on the non-provision of cycle lanes, the loss of trees, and the number of traffic lights.
The failure to provide cycle lanes was blamed on the steepness of the hill but is viewed as a stark omission, at a time when local authorities are expected to encourage more environmentally sustainable transport.
The planned works include the widening of the carriageway to six metres, over a distance of one kilometre, with two two-metre-wide footpaths on either side of the road, with the exception of a number of pinch points.
Local councillor Mary Rose Desmond (FF) said the upgrade is “exceptionally important”, but expressed frustration in relation to consultation with homeowners affected by compulsory purchase orders.
Marcia D’Alton (IND) said a cycle lane should have been included in the plan.
“I am concerned about the absence of an installation of a cycle lane. It was passed at municipal district level because it has been delayed for so very long, but the reality is there is a proposal on this steep hill, with a gradient of 9%, to put two two-metre wide footpaths.
“It’s a stretch where few people walk and many cycle.
“It is a stone’s throw from what is the county’s finest greenway and we are not putting in a cycle lane to assist the safety of those who will be cycling up the hill,” she added.
Seamus McGrath described the decision, by councillors, to proceed, as being “stuck between a rock and hard place”.
“This was moved on by the municipal district with reservations because the scheme is long-overdue and everybody wants to see an improvement on Clarke’s Hill.
“We were told that the National Transport Authority doesn’t allow cycle lanes on an incline greater than 5%, which I think is ridiculous, from a national policy point of view,” Mr McGrath said.