CALLS have been made for probational gardaí to be deployed on the streets of Cork to help the flow of traffic over the Christmas period
Operation Freeflow was brought in in 1996 by then Minister for the Environment Brendan Howlin to keep junctions and bus lanes clear and increase traffic movement in Dublin.
Labour Party representative in Cork, Peter Horgan said the operation should be introduced in Cork after it was revealed in the Evening Echo last week that traffic levels going through the Jack Lynch tunnel and Dunkettle Interchange had increased by 4,000 cars a day since 2015.
“Traffic volumes in Cork grind to a halt with one crash or any hint of rain and wind. With increasing traffic volumes on our roads, and the busy Christmas period to come over the next month, the Government should now move to instate Operation Freeflow in Cork,” said Mr Horgan "Efforts to increase the use of public transport into town are essential if we are to reduce the number of cars.
"In recent years, the closure of Templemore and non-availability of trainee gardaí meant there hasn't been an Operation Freeflow as we knew it since 2011, but now that the college is up and running again... it's time to bring this successful operation to Cork for the seasonal rush," he added.
However, Cork city South Central Councillor Sean Martin said this will only go so far to helping congestion problems and investment in infrastructure to link the north of the city into the south and west out to Ballincollig should be a priority.
“What we need to identify first is out pinch points and what time traffic is heavy in the day and evening,” he said.
“The problem is that everybody is trying to get through the same space in the morning and the afternoon. There needs to be serious remedial works done on the Dunkettle Interchange.
“We've had the South Ring for the last 15 years. We need the North Ring Road and also a connection between Ballincollig bypass and the north of the city. That's the answer; a north link road that takes you in from around Sarsfields Court and comes in around the north side onto the Mallow Road and the Ballincollig bypass.
“The main issue is infrastructure. We can start changing the deck chairs all we want.
“As for putting bodies to solve the problem; you'd want to identify the black spots. You'd want to have people there between now and Christmas.
“We need to be planning 25 to 30 years into the future and be asking what our model is going to be. We need to think about a Luas or a tram-style system,” he added.
Meanwhile, Cork City Council will observe a moratorium on essential roadworks from December 1, although works will continue on some footpaths and in some side streets within the Middle Parish with the agreement of the gardaí in December.