CONSTRUCTION work on the landmark Cork City Centre Movement Strategy will begin this month.
The controversial strategy is the most ambitious revamp of the city's traffic flow in several decades and will include a ban on private cars from Patrick's Street and make MacCurtain Street a two-way street.
Phase one of the works will concentrate initially on the South Mall and Grenville Place, including a series of public realm upgrades and improvements.
Later stages of this phase include the partial ban of private traffic on Patrick St, though the full impact of these changes won't be felt in the city until sometime next year.
The tendering process for the wide-sweeping changes was recently completed by Cork City Council, with McGinty & O'Shea awarded the contract for the project.
A finished programme of works and methodology is currently being put together, with works 'likely to commence towards the end of April', according to a report which will come before city councillors today.
The current phase of works will take approximately seven months to complete and will commence in a matter of weeks with public realm works on South Mall and Grenville Place.
A dedicated website - www.transportforcork.ie - is due to launch to keep stakeholders up to date with localised lane restrictions and work schedules during the course of construction.
Upgraded lighting, public realm works, footpath improvements, diversions and signal changes are just some of what is set to take place in the coming months to facilitate the later stages of the plan, which is designed to improve the flow of traffic in the city centre.
Approved by elected members last October, later stages of the strategy will see the ban of private cars from Patrick St from 3pm to 6.30pm daily, though city engineers have indicated that this change is unlikely to be seen until 2018.
Preparatory works are expected to take approximately twelve months to complete, with some €2 million issued to the local authority under the Regional Cities Grants Programme earlier this year to facilitate the works.
The confirmation of the commencement of works comes on the back of the introduction of a series of controversial new measures in the middle parish.
Operating hours at the North Main Street multi-storey car park have been extended - a move which has been broadly welcomed in the area.
However, traders have been less keen on the extension of pay and display hours from 6.30pm to 8.30pm from Monday to Saturday.
In addition, the pay parking period has been reduced to one hour, a move which is designed to ease parking concerns for residents in the area.