Cork's South Ring Road is 20% over capacity

Cork's South Ring Road is 20% over capacity
Northbound traffic queuing on the N40 South Ring Road. Pic; Larry Cummins

The strain on Cork's road network has been highlighted by a Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) report that shows a number of primary and secondary routes operating at levels over 20% above capacity in the county.

Parts of the N22 and N40 are seeing traffic flows way above their capability prompting Cork north-west Cllr Tony Fitzgerald to again call on the Government to invest in the Northern Ring Road project to ease traffic levels.

A majority of the N22 - stretching from Ballyvourney all the way to Ballincollig where the N22 meets the N40 south ring is above 120% capacity of traffic levels - while the N20 from Cork city to Mallow is operating at over 100% capacity.

The intersection between the N20 at Mallow and the N72 Killarney road is also dealing with traffic levels beyond 120%.

Cllr Fitzgerald has described the situation as an emerging crisis.

“Those figures indicate the demand and the increase in traffic on the northern end of the city and the strain incurred give credence to the development of the Northern Ring Road. It's now become a matter urgency, a crisis for infrastructure,” he said.

“Currently, we have huge developments going on on the northside, a petrol station has just opened on Harbour View Road, so obviously there is a demand for services in the urban area of the northside which strains the flow of traffic from the north ring road into the urban areas. The demand for the Northern Ring Road project is now at its peak and it's increasing. It's an emerging crisis.

“It's obvious that if that traffic was able to be diverted at the Glanmire toll, northbound, to the Poulavone roundabout that would address the levels of traffic coming into the Jack Lynch tunnel and onto the south link. The solution is at the Northern Ring Road rather than putting further investment into the Dunkettle Interchange,” he added.

Cork and Limerick business chamber last month jointly commissioned a study into the socio-economic benefits of the Cork to Limerick motorway while Housing Minister Simon Coveney said it was a “priority project”.

Cllr Fitzgerald said the intercity motorway will not work without the Northern Ring Road being developed in conjunction with it.

A spokesperson for TII said the N22 Cork Northern Ring Road project is not included in the Capital Investment Plan due to its scale and competing projects elsewhere in the country.

Other primary routes in the county which where traffic levels have gone beyond maximum usage levels include the N25 between Midleton and Castlemartyr and the N71 secondary route between Rosscarberry, Bandon and Clonakilty to where it meets the N40 at the Bandon Interchange.

Traffic growth increased in Cork by 3.1% in 2016 with Heavy Goods Vehicle growth at 7.2%. The county recorded a medium score on a chart devised by TII to indicate the impact of road investment on accessibility to employment.

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