RESIDENTS in Belvelly have called for urgent action to improve road safety in the area.
Eoin Bell, who has been living in Belvelly for the past 23 years said that he believes the road alignment on the R624 at Belvelly is unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).
“Because of the bends in the road it actually constricts the carriageway lane widths and because of that, traffic has to actually stop to allow other traffic to pass by, now I’m talking about HGVs.
“When a car or a truck sees no other traffic passing, they’ll actually speed up to get through the village before they meet other traffic and they have to slow down,” he said.
He also said he feels that there are “near misses on a daily basis”.
Cork County Council is to carry out a transport study which will look at all options in relation to access into Cobh however, Mr Bell said such a study was already undertaken.
“Why waste more money? Why can’t they use the money already spent and the public consultation process?”
Mr Bell also called for the Belvelly Bridge, built in 1803, to be named as a protected structure.
“Every step should be taken to preserve its architectural heritage and beauty,” he said.
Speaking to The Echo, Dr Mary Stack, founder and secretary of the Belvelly Positive Action Group, also highlighted road safety concerns.
She said a lack of funding for R624 road cleaning leaves the road dirty and unsafe.
She said that debris arises from HGV’s “bumping and scraping our properties and pulling at the hedges on our gardens leaving a trail of plaster and organic matter after them.”
She said that while the council previously performed hedge-cutting that “the council has not cut the hedges in Lower Belvelly in the last four years,” and that “it is too dangerous for local residents to stand on the road to perform hedge cutting.”
“Any boundary work on the outside of our properties on the R624 needs to be performed on Christmas morning and this is not an exaggeration, just a sad fact of life when living in Belvelly Lower on a very dangerous road,” Dr Stack continued.
In response to a query by The Echo, Cork County Council confirmed that a route selection study was conducted previously, but that funding was not available to proceed with a new route.
“A route selection study was conducted by Mott MacDonald Consulting Engineers on behalf of Cork County Council.
“The study area was confined to the R624 from Fota to Marino Point and seven main route options were initially considered within the study area.
“A preferred route was selected following public consultation in 2007.
“The consulting engineer reported to Cork County Council in 2008, however, the preferred route was not advanced at the time as an adequate funding source had not been identified.
“The availability of funding was affected by the financial crisis at the time.
“Cork County Council did have exploratory discussions with a number of local landowners at this time regarding the possible acquisition of land to facilitate the development of the scheme.
“However, the lack of adequate funding available prevented Cork County Council from advancing the scheme through the planning and Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) processes.
“A CPO was not made at the time and no lands were acquired by CPO or by agreement,” the council said.
“The study area has now been extended to include the full extent of the R624, including the N25 Tullagreen Interchange and the section of the R624 from Marino Point to Cobh.
“In addition to the extension of the study area, the route options considered in the 2008 study require review in the context of changes to legislation and guidelines in the intervening period.”
Cork County Council stated that the R624 is swept twice a year, adding that hedge-cutting “is the responsibility of landowners under the Roads Act of 1993”.
The council also confirmed that €35,301 has been allocated by the Department of Transport to Cork County Council “for the repair of Belvelly Bridge”.