TRAFFIC lights will be installed on the busy Inniscarra Bridge in a bid to alleviate traffic congestion but councillors agree it is not the “ultimate solution”.
The narrow bridge which links Ballincollig with Macroom, Blarney and Coachford and is the main entry point for the Ballincollig Regional Park features an incline which makes it difficult for cars on either side to see what is coming toward them until they access the bridge.
Many incidents per day are recorded where cars have to reverse back off the bridge to allow heavy goods vehicles to pass and cars on either side having to wait for rows of traffic coming from the opposite direction to pass before crossing.
Council officials who have examined the issue said the traffic light measures will be cheaper than the building of a new bridge and would be completed in a much shorter amount of time.
The Part 8 report stated that the signals will prevent two vehicles meeting on the deck of the bridge and will operate on 90-second cycles at off-peak times and 120 seconds at peak times The plans involve a traffic light system and a ‘stop and go’ system which would remain on red until cars approach. Sensors would then trigger the light sequence.
The matter was brought to full council after councillors in the Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District failed to agree on it, however, representatives in the Blarney-Macroom district had unanimously passed the motion.
Ballincollig-based Councillor Daithí Ó Donnabháin (FF) said he was against the proposal and believes the lights will not solve the traffic problems and added that councillors would be discussing more problems created by the traffic lights in the future.
However, Councillor Kevin Conway (IND) responded that the traffic lights measure was 25 years in the making and must go ahead.
“We know it’s not the ultimate solution, that is a new bridge, but that won’t happen in our lifetime,” he said.
Sinn Fein’s Des O’Grady called the traffic light plan “realistic”, while Gobnait Moynihan (FF) said cyclists would be accommodated under the system and people exiting the Ballincollig Regional Park would find it easier to get on to the bridge.
Derry Canty (FG) described some drivers using the bridge as “impatient” and said some people were having their wing mirrors being taken off or cars scratched. While he admitted he had “reservations” and there would be teething problems with the traffic light system, he said something must be done.
According to Bob Ryan (FF), the only alternative to installing traffic lights would be to “blow up the bridge” with other measures such as a realignment of the bridge and a warning system for motorists described as impractical in the Part 8 report.