Council to decide on Skehard Rd junction revamp

Council to decide on Skehard Rd junction revamp
Approaching the Skehard Road junction from Mahon. Picture: Richard Mills

PLANS to revamp the Skehard Road in a bid to ease traffic woes in Mahon came before city councillors yesterday.

The ambitious plans aim to improve the flow of traffic on one of the city's busiest roads, adding improved infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as motorists.

Designs went on display last summer, with city planners now set to present a report on the process to elected members with a view to advancing the scheme to construction before the end of the year.

The report was discussed by councillors at a roads committee meeting yesterday The evening. It will come before a meeting of the full council next Monday.

Initial plans for the area included widening the Skehard Road from its junction with Church Road to the CSO/Mahon Link Road junction.

There are also plans to add an inbound cycle lane on Skehard Road and to upgrade the Bessboro Road junction in a bid to improve traffic flow throughout the entire traffic corridor.

Local councillor Terry Shannon said the scheme is important for the area, but warned that it won't be a cure-all for Mahon's traffic woes.

"It is important for the area. There was a big improvement in the area after the removal of the Well Road roundabout, for example, despite the opposition at the time.

"But, we have to remember that 65% of the traffic in the Mahon area comes via the tunnel and that is something we need to factor in. While these works will improve things on one side of Mahon Point and City Gate, it won't ameliorate the issues present elsewhere in this part of the city."

Mr Shannon said that city officials have worked with many residents to ease concerns about the scheme in recent months.

Concerns were raised locally about traffic access from housing estates and homes onto the busy road.

Parking, cycle access and the speed of traffic were all noted as issues by residents too.

Mr Shannon said, "Some people in the area have been marooned in their homes at times of heavy traffic and there are concerns that some estates could be turned into rat runs. These are valid concerns and we are working to find compromises with residents on these problems and others."

Among the potential solutions is the introduction of 30kph zones in housing estates.

The Fianna Fáil councillor is optimistic that work will begin on the scheme this year if approved by council.

He said, "We have huge traffic management issues in the area and this is part of the process to try and deal with that. It goes right as far as the CSO and, from there, we need to start dealing with issues at Mahon Point and beyond. Traffic is at full capacity."

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