LABOUR Party local area rep Peter Horgan has called for clarity on proposals to develop a bridge over the popular Ballybrack Woods in Douglas.
As part of the National Transport Authority’s (NTA’s) plans to develop 12 new Sustainable Transport Corridors (STCs), it is proposed to construct 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.
Proposals for a bridge over the Mangala originated in the Douglas Land Use and Transport Strategy (DLUTS) developed by Cork County Council in conjunction with MVA Consultancy before the boundary extension.
The NTA states that the proposed Douglas East West Link Bridge “is proposed to connect the existing Grange Road Junction on the Grange Road at the west end and cross the Ballybrack (Mangala) Valley in an east-west direction to connect to the Carrigaline Road at the east end”.
However, the proposal to develop the bridge in addition to the proposed widening of the Carrigaline Road has sparked criticism, with many voicing concern over the impact such infrastructure would have on the woods.
Speaking toahead of a community forum meeting on Monday organised by the NTA as part of the consultation process, Mr Horgan said many local people are “rightly incensed” by the bridge proposal.
“Such a bridge would be counter intuitive to the investment at Ballybrack as seen from the county and city council,” he continued.
Deputy CEO of the NTA Hugh Creegan stressed that the current STC proposals are “not final plans for development”.
“Nothing is set in stone yet, so everything is there to be teased through. We’re not so wedded to anything that it can’t be changed,” he told The Echo.
The Douglas East West Link Bridge is also being considered independently by Cork City Council.
According to the council’s website, the scheme would involve the development of a bridge over the Mangala, the upgrading of the Donnybrook Hill and Grange Road junction from a T-junction to a four-way junction and the creation of a new T-junction on the Carrigaline Road with the new bridge.
The council says the aims of the scheme include providing an alternative and more direct route for pedestrians and cyclists who travel from east to west and vice versa through Douglas as well as improving the connectivity between the Maryborough Hill area and Frankfield/Grange.
“It’s incumbent on city council to also clarify their plans for another bridge that may proceed if the NTA bridge is abandoned,” Mr Horgan said.
“You don’t want a bridge like the Sword of Damocles hanging over people for years to come.
“If people don’t want an NTA bridge, they’re not going to want an East West Link Bridge [developed by Cork City Council].”