WORK has started on a key roadworks project that aims to drastically cut bus journey times between Mahon and the city centre.
The Skehard Road lane changes project will benefit the thousands of workers in the City Gate office complex, as well as shoppers, residents and commuters from the wider Mahon area.
The 202 bus service — the city’s busiest service — uses the Skehard Road to connect Mahon to the city centre, making 88 trips per day.
Some 1.8 million people use the service each year, according to Bus Éireann, with journey times expected to be slashed once the works are complete and a single, continuous bus lane is in place from Mahon to the city centre.
Construction workers returned to the area in recent weeks, commencing work at Scally’s Junction in a phase of development that will last until November.
It is a continuation of the previous work that saw the removal of the Well Road roundabout and the realignment of the junction and will include the widening of the road where possible to take out ‘problem areas’ such as the junctions onto Church Road and at the CSO.
The works will see the installatio of a consistent layout between the city and Mahon, with continual bus and cycle lanes in place when the project is complete, allowing public transport to skip the gridlock which often results in delays in the area.
The project also includes new footpaths, public lighting, turn signals, bus shelters and real-time traffic displays, while utility providers will also use the opportunity to upgrade water mains, telecommunications and electricity infrastructure in the area.
“It is a total refurb of the Skehard Road,” said John Stepleton, senior engineer with Cork City Council.
“It will result in a major improvement for all road users, including improved traffic lanes, pedestrian facilities, cycleways and bus facilities. The work will completed on a section by section basis so that we can transfer traffic to minimise the disruption to other road users.”
Later stages of the plan will link the junctions with improved road lanes before the city tackles other parts of Mahon, including the link road and other parts of the area.
The works have been welcomed locally.
Former Lord Mayor, Cllr Des Cahill said, “The road has one of the busiest bus routes in Cork city on it.
“The 202 goes up there every 10 minutes and carries about 5,000 people to City Gate, Abtran and other parts of the area.
“There will be some element of disruption but it should not be anything major. This project is a major boost for the area.”
The Skehard Road works are part of the revamp of the eastern corridor, with future plans targeting the western corridor, including the link between the city centre and Wilton, Bishopstown and CIT.