A €3.5m greenway plan from Glenbrook to Raffeen has been scrapped by Cork County Council and will have to be redesigned under the Cork Harbour Greenway project due to changes in path width criteria by the National Transport Authority (NTA).
The Council received a €1m grant to progress a section of the Cork to Carrigaline greenway last year from the Department of Rural and Community Affairs.
The funding was subject to being completed within a timeframe ending at the end of 2018.
The Glenbrook to Raffeen Part 8 plan was passed by members last May despite opposition from some who had warned that a 3m width in a section between Glenbrook and Monkstown was too narrow.
The NTA has since updated its specification for greenways in metropolitan areas stipulating that a minimum width of 4m should be used to allow for the safety of walkers and cyclists.
Cork County Council has now determined that the delivery of the greenway cannot be done on this criteria in 2018 and has informed the Department cannot draw down the grant money for the project.
However, the NTA has indicated that it will work with Cork County Council to deliver a new plan and an upgrade of the Cork city to Passage West phase of the project at a width of 4m. It is expected the scope of the entire Cork Harbour Greenway project will be delivered this month with the NTA funding the cost in full.
Council senior executive officer Jim Molloy said the first phase of the Cork city to Passage section will include an upgrade to a minimum 4m width standard.
The next phase will encompass Passage to Ringaskiddy to Carrigaline.
Councillor Seamus McGrath (FF) expressed disappointment that Council officials had not heeded warnings from councillors on the greenway width.
“We as councillors made a very strong case that what was on the table was unacceptable and would not work,” he said.
“I always had severe doubts that that project could go ahead from Glenbrook all the way out to Raffeen with cyclists on a very busy footpath and walking route,” he added.
Marcia D’Alton said the second phase of the project is badly needed to address road safety issues.
“The Passage to Ringaskiddy and Carrigaline [section] would be hugely welcome and would overcome massive road dangers. Cyclists are at huge risk on that stretch of road with the Irish Water works. Cycling is almost suicidal, genuinely.
Eoghan Jeffers (SF) said members of the public who had also warned of the dangers of 3m metre greenway widths have now been vindicated.
Deirdre Forde (FG) added: “It doesn’t inspire confidence when officials swear blind that this is the only way to do things only to have the whole thing up scuttled again in a few months.
Mr Molloy said the Cork Harbour Project had a ballpark figure of between €15 and €20m.
He added once the NTA approve the scheme, they will provide the money with the construction timeline to be decided by the transport authority.
Cork County Council has requested that the €1m grant allocated for the scrapped greenway plan be used for another project in south Cork to be delivered this year.