CORK County Council has agreed to halt their proposals to implement traffic lights and a one-way system in Minane Bridge. This follows an impassioned plea and campaign from residents and elected representatives.
Residents of Minane Bridge have been calling for 30 years for a footpath to be built from the local primary school to the village, for safety.
Late last year, Cork County Council announced that under Section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1994, a one-way traffic system, controlled by traffic lights, was to be introduced in Minane Bridge, to facilitate the construction of a footpath, but no road widening. This decision was opposed by the local community and their elected representatives.
The proposals created much unease for the residents of the one-street rural village, who feared the one-way traffic-light-controlled system would be unsuitable and would destroy the quaintness of the village.
Last Monday evening, members of Tracton Community Council met with local councillors to try to find a solution to the impasse.
A Community Involvement Scheme (CIS) was pitched at the meeting and approved of by committee members, who felt it could provide all parties with a solution.
Following last Monday’s meeting, dialogue was reopened with Cork County Council, who have agreed to suspend the contractor, because the community are prepared to look at initiating the scheme.
Fianna Fáil councillor Seamus McGrath said the initial proposals were not suitable: “I genuinely believe it was the wrong solution for that area; totally out of character for a small village. It is important to do it right.
“There will be a bit of a delay with this. We have raised the issue of some minor interim measures to make it safer, such as the provision of a couple of ramps to provide a safety element for the coming school term.” Mr McGrath said that the CIS is a positive development for all sides. “The Community Involvement Scheme allows for a community to get involved and make either a financial contribution or carry out works in lieu of a financial contribution.
"We contacted senior people in the council immediately after last Monday’s meeting, asking to halt the works for now, because the community are more than willing to get involved.
“Since then, the council has suspended the contractor, for now, and they said they will give the community a number of weeks for them to engage with the council on how this might proceed. They have means at their disposal, in terms of machinery. It may not involve works. It could also involve fundraising and local contributions. It is a positive development. The council has agreed to give the community a chance to let them do this and I want to acknowledge the council in helping facilitate this,” he added.
“The community have shown great determination in resisting what they believe is the wrong solution, but now they are prepared to roll up their sleeves and work with the council,” said Mr McGrath. “This is potentially a way forward, where the community can get what they want, in terms of a footpath without traffic lights, and the council can get what they want, in terms of providing a safe route to school.”