Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton, has requested that the Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, personally examine Cork County Council’s proposals to develop plans for the upgrade of the R624 road and improved access to Cobh and the Great Island.
Speaking in Dáil Éireann this week, David Stanton again raised the need for better access to the Great Island given the possibility that 15,000 people could in effect, be cut off from the mainland if the only access road was flooded or if any unfortunate accident occurred on the local road network.
David Stanton highlighted the fact that the current road infrastructure to the Great Island, including the Belvelly Bridge and the R624 Fota road from there into Cobh, is too narrow and dangerous to cater for the volumes of traffic currently using the route. He said that the situation could become even more problematic due to future developments at Marino Point and Cork Dockyard and that proposals need to be urgently considered by the Department of Transport for improved access to the island.
“I am aware that the Department of Transport had an initial engagement with Cork County Council last year, including a meeting with the Department’s strategic research and analysis division regarding the project proposal process. I understand the Council is appointing consultants. We know this is a major project, which is extremely sensitive. It is in a special area of conservation where there is a great deal of heritage, stonework and so on. I ask the Minister to put his weight behind this project and to do all he can, with his hard-working officials, to support Cork County Council in advancing proposals to upgrade road access to Cobh”, said David Stanton.
In response Minister Ryan acknowledged the traffic volume issue on the R624 road and confirmed that the Department of Transport is aware of the need to develop the road infrastructure around Cobh. Cork County Council’s proposed transport study will consider various options including better road access for further Local Link bus services and increased frequency on the Cobh rail line. However, Minister Ryan has agreed to look closely at the proposals to improve road access to the island with a view to further developing them in conjunction with Cork County Council.