RESIDENTS of Waterloo and Whitechurch are facing at least another five months of lengthy traffic diversions.
Cork County Council took the decision to close the Waterloo N20 junction - which has been the scene of numerous serious crashes in recent times including one which claimed the lives of two American tourists - in August.
However, this has resulted in Waterloo locals being faced with 60km diversion via Blarney to drop kids at school in Whitechurch.
A meeting between local councillors and County Hall engineers has failed to yield a solution as the local authority is insistent that a statutory public consultation process is to be carried out on the matter which will take until February of 2019 at the earliest.
County officials are also believed to be putting in place an oral hearing which will be overseen by an independent body. The local authority has already said its preferred option is to close the junction permanently following the results of a safety audit.
Blarney-Macroom Councillor Kevin Conway (IND) said the process is a waste of time as all six local elected representatives have declared they will vote for the junction to be reopened when it comes before them.
Following the meeting with engineers at County Hall, he told the Evening Echo: “We spoke with the engineers for an hour and a half. We pushed and pushed for a solution but they are saying they must go through the process of public consultation and we're talking, at a minimum, that won't be finished until February.
“That will also depend on an oral hearing as there have been so many requests to have one.
“There is no intention from the Council to reopen it. This is a huge waste of time and money. They know the six councillors from the Blarney-Macroom municipal district will make the decision to open the junction and we have reiterated that.
“We have given them a number of solutions. They do not have to go through a public consultation. They called the closure, they can call it off again.
“At Rathduff junction, up the road, they put traffic calming measures and chicanes in as well as narrowing down the road,” he added.
The local authority received a submission from the Gardaí earlier this month which would allow for a left turn in and left turn out only on the junction.
County Hall engineers are working on developing the option but the Waterloo Access Group has said this is an “unacceptable proposal” and it will continue to push for the junction to be open. It is calling on the Council to explore all options to fully and safely re-open the junction, with access not just limited to left-in, left-out turns.
Last September, James Baker, aged 62, from Indiana, and Peggy Sue Adams, aged 59, from Ohio, were killed when their southbound hire-car was in collision with a truck as they turned right at the junction.
In April last, an American couple were seriously injured in a three-vehicle crash at the junction.
It is understood that the visitors in both incidents may have been following sat nav directions to visit Blarney.