AKC News // Official says Cork docks plan needs public sector investment of €900m

Source: Irish Times
Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent

The multibillion euro regeneration of Cork docklands will require public sector investment of some 900 million over 20 years to provide new bridges, a public transport system and upgrading of the road network, Cork city manager Joe Gavin has said.

Cork City Council has identified the provision of at least two and possibly three new bridges across the river Lee as one of the main priorities in opening up the 400 acres of the city's south docklands for development.

"We've identified suitable locations for two of the bridges, one at the Skew Bridge in Tivoli linking the Lower Glanmire Road and the area near Pirc U Chaoimh and then a second site is at Water Street nearer the city," Mr Gavin said.

"The bridge at the Skew Bridge would give the access that we want to the docklands. It will cost 80 million and we've made a submission to Government for funding of 60 million with the city council providing the balance - we hope to have a decision on that in February."

Mr Gavin said the council envisaged construction of the bridges on a phased basis, with the Water Street crossing of the river Lee to follow some three years after the Tivoli bridge. Both bridges would have opening spans to allow marine traffic upstream.

The development of the docklands will involve Cork port being moved down the harbour to Ringaskiddy, which the port estimates will cost it about 56 million.

"The city council have made an offer to the Port of Cork of 20 million to take over the quays and have made a submission to Government for aid of 36 million to help them move to Ringaskiddy and we would again hope to get a decision on that in February," Mr Gavin said.

The city council would be proceeding with the development of the docklands while port activities continued upstream through the construction of the open span bridges at Tivoli and Water Street, before considering a third crossing of the Lee.

"There is the possibility of a third bridge closer the point of the island, near the Custom House, which would be primarily for public transport, but that's not fully detailed yet," Mr Gavin added. Much would depend on the type of public transport planned for Cork.

The council has commissioned consultants to review the public transport dimension of the Cork Area Strategic Plan with a view to determining the most suitable form of public transport for Cork and the new docklands. Previous plans suggested that bus-based transport was the most suitable, but the consultants will also look at rapid bus transport using articulated buses, guided buses and some type of tram system similar to the Luas in Dublin, he said.

"The provision of public transport in the docklands is critical to its success. The plan is for a residential population of 20,000 with a working population there of 25,000 and the view generally is for it to function properly, 60-70 per cent of people need to be using public transport."

Date : 02-01-2008