A CORK city councillor has welcomed what he has described as “positive engagement” with the National Transport Authority (NTA) in listening to concerns expressed over proposals to develop a bridge over Ballybrack Woods in Douglas.
Last month, the NTA opened the first round of consultations regarding proposals to deliver 12 new Strategic Transport Corridors (STCs) for the city as part of the BusConnects Cork project.
At least 200 submissions have already been received with a large proportion citing concerns relating to a proposal to develop a bridge providing a footpath, cycle track, bus lane and general traffic lane in each direction over the woods known locally as ‘the Mangala’.
The proposed bridge would be developed at the junction of Grange Road and Donnybrook Hill over the Mangala to connect with the Carrigaline Road.
Speaking to The Echo, local Fine Gael councillor, Shane O’Callaghan said he organised a meeting between the deputy CEO of the NTA, Hugh Creegan and members of the Douglas Tidy Towns on Thursday to discuss the concerns regarding the proposed bridge.
“We outlined to him how important the Mangala is to Douglas and the people of Douglas as a green space, as a public amenity, as a wildlife and nature reserve and as a haven of tranquillity where local people can go.We also outlined how important the Mangala had become for people during Covid,” Mr O’Callaghan said.
“Having listened to our concerns, Mr Creegan indicated the NTA was willing to reconsider the proposed bridge over the Mangala and he also confirmed that the NTA was not wedded to the idea of a bridge and that BusConnects could work without it. We were very encouraged to hear that and, in my view, the meeting was a significant step towards ensuring that the bridge won’t happen.”
A spokesperson for the NTA said that it was aware of the interest shown in the Mangala/Ballybrack Woods plans and said “all submissions will be reviewed and considered once the initial consultation process has been completed.”
The spokesperson said the authority has said from the outset that “engagement, feedback and submissions are hugely important to NTA to further progress the proposals”.