Macroom Bypass Opens to Traffic

A group of people in suits cutting a ribbon

One of the country’s most eagerly anticipated road projects took a step closer to completion with the official opening of the Macroom Bypass section of the N22 Baile Bhuirne to Macroom new Dual Carriageway by the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Danny Collins and Taoiseach Mícheál Martin

Opening ahead of schedule, the 8km new bypass road includes a roundabout at the tie-in on the eastern side of Macroom, a grade-separated junction at Gurteenroe on the western end of Macroom and a temporary tie-in at Carrigaphooca, with the temporary roundabout allowing traffic to merge onto the existing N22.  The project will be completed by 2024.

Ahead of the official opening, thousands took part in community events including the Muskerry AC fun run and walk in association with Macroom Senior Citizens and Macroom Fairy Garden. Macroom Lions Club also organised a ‘ball drop’ in aid of the Irish Community Air Ambulance. 

The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Danny Collins said,

Today is a fantastic day for the people of Macroom where 13,000 cars and HGVs would travel through daily.  Thanks to the bypass, the volume of traffic will decrease by 40%, leading to improved quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors to Macroom. Now, the urban renewal of Macroom will begin, where motorists travelling between Cork and Kerry will visit the town and properly experience all that Macroom has to offer without worrying about being stuck in traffic. I would like to thank all the construction staff for their hard work over the last two and a half years and for the community events in recent weeks. It was wonderful to see so many people walking on the new road, taking in the sights and impressive engineering of the road all while raising money for local charities.

Cork County Council signed contracts with two Irish firms, Jon Civil Engineering Ltd and John Cradock Ltd, in November 2019 for a total budget of €280 million, in what was the largest single investment by government in the region at the time.  Work started in January 2020 with up to 260 construction staff employed on site at the peak of the project and continuing throughout the Covid pandemic.

In December 2020, seven precast concrete bridge beams, the longest ever for Ireland and the UK at 49.9 metres in length, made their way to Macroom with the assistance of a garda escort over 4 nights.   With only 200mm height to spare traveling through the Jack Lynch Tunnel, one of the biggest challenges was reversing the 155 tonne beams into position with only inches to spare at the existing stone arch “New Bridge” in Macroom. The new section of road consists of two lanes in each direction separated by a steel median barrier. A total of 48 principal structures were built including three river bridges, three overbridges and four under bridges, walls, culverts and environmental barriers for noise reduction and 132,000 square metres of pavement. 

Officially opening the new Macroom Bypass, Taoiseach, Mícheál Martin, T.D. said “Delivered under Project Ireland 2040, the Macroom Bypass will greatly improve safety and accessibility for local communities who will use this road regularly as well as for those travelling between Cork and Kerry.  It will encourage economic growth, supporting further investment and employment to the region. I look forward to seeing Macroom and the wider region go from strength to strength in the years ahead and wish all who travel on the road a safe journey.”

Minister of Transport Eamon Ryan TD., said: “The new bypass breathes new life into Macroom, ensuring that the town can begin to flourish as a place people want to live and visit without the stress of congestion.  It will improve safety for all road users and opens up possibilities for reimagining how Macroom can now develop, in line with the Government’s ‘Town Centre First’ policy which is all about ‘place making’ and ensuring that towns are built around people first, not cars. I would like to thank Transport Infrastructure and Cork County Council for their work on this project so far and look forward to the final delivery of this project.”

Peter Walsh Chief Executive Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) said “Delivering a safe network of national roads is one of the primary responsibilities for TII.  The opening of the Macroom Bypass delivers an immediate safety improvement for both road user and pedestrian, it will also enhance the quality of life for people living, working, and visiting the town of Macroom. We look forward to the entire N22 Baile Bhuirne to Macroom project completion in 2024.”  

Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey added,
 

The N22 Macroom Bypass marks a significant step for the Cork Kerry region.  Advancing such a major piece of strategic infrastructure to this point is a complex process and this is an extremely important development for the entire region. This critically important scheme will improve road safety, journey times, remove traffic congestion and enhance connectivity between Cork and Kerry, facilitating sustainable development across the county. This section which is opening ahead of schedule and on budget is testament to the hard work of all involved. The contractors had to contend with challenging terrain from rivers and pastures to hilly remote land. This project has been a collaborative effort from the very start and I would like to thank the people of Macroom, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, joint contractors Jons Civil Engineering and Jon Craddock JV Ltd , our many design consultants, most recently lead by Mott McDonald Ireland ltd, landowners and businesses and the hundreds of other companies and individuals involved over the last 2 decades to help us in arriving at this milestone today.


Tháinig ceann de na tionscadail bóithre is mó a bhfuiltear ag súil go fonnmhar leis céim níos cóngaraí chuig a chríoch inniu le hoscailt oifigiúil den chuid Sheachbhóthar Mhaigh Chromtha den débhealach nua N22 ó Bhaile Bhuirne go Maigh Chromtha, leis an Méara Chontae Chorcaí, an Comhairleoir Danny Collins agus an Taoiseach Micheál Martin ag an láthair don oscailt oifigiúil.

Ag oscailt roimh an sprioc, cuimsíonn an seachbhóthar nua seo, atá 8km d'fhad, timpeallán ag an nasc-isteach ar an taobh thoir de Mhaigh Chromtha, acomhal grád-scartha ag an nGoirtín Rua ar an taobh thiar de Mhaigh Chromtha agus nasc-isteach sealadach ag Carraig an Phúca, le timpeallán sealadach a ligeann do thrácht nascadh leis an N22 reatha. Beidh an tionscadal críochnaithe in 2024.

Roimh an oscailt oifigiúil, ghlac na mílte páirt in imeachtaí pobail a eagraíodh lena n-áirítear rith spraoi agus siúlóid a d'eagraigh AC Muskerry i gcomhar le Seanóirí Mhaigh Chromtha agus Gairdín Sióg Mhaigh Chromtha. D’eagraigh Macroom Lions Club ‘scaoileadh liathróide’ ar mhaithe le hAerárthach Othar Phobal na hÉireann.

Dúirt Méara Chontae Chorcaí, an Comhairleoir Danny Collins, “Is lá iontach é inniu do mhuintir Mhaigh Chromtha ina mbeadh 20,000 carr agus feithiclí earraí troma ag taisteal tríd go laethúil. A bhuí leis an seachbhóthar, tiocfaidh laghdú 40% ar an méid tráchta, rud as a dtiocfaidh feabhas ar cháilíocht na beatha do chónaitheoirí, gnólachtaí agus cuairteoirí go Maigh Chromtha. Anois, cuirfear tús le hathnuachan uirbeach Mhaigh Chromtha, áit a dtabharfaidh tiománaithe a thaistealaíonn idir Corcaigh agus Ciarraí cuairt ar an mbaile agus taithí cheart a fháil ar gach a bhfuil le tairiscint ag Maigh Chromtha gan a bheith buartha faoi bheith sáinnithe sa trácht. Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil leis an bhfoireann tógála ar fad as an obair chrua a dheineadar le dhá bhliain go leith anuas agus as na himeachtaí pobail a reáchtáladh le seachtainí beaga anuas. Bhí sé iontach an oiread sin daoine a fheiscint ag siúl ar an mbóthar nua, ag féachaint ar radhairc agus innealtóireacht iontach an bhóthair agus ag bailiú airgid do charthanachtaí áitiúla.”

Shínigh Comhairle Contae Chorcaí conarthaí le dhá ghnólacht Éireannacha, Jon Civil Engineering Ltd agus John Cradock Ltd, i mí na Samhna 2019 ar bhuiséad iomlán de €280 milliún, rud a bhí ar an infheistíocht aonair is mó ag an rialtas sa réigiún ag an am. Cuireadh tús leis an obair i mí Eanáir 2020 agus bhí suas le 260 ball foirne tógála fostaithe ar an láthair ag buaicphointe an tionscadail agus ag leanúint ar aghaidh le linn na paindéime covid.

I mí na Nollag 2020, tháinig seacht mbíoma droichead coincréite réamhtheilgthe d'fhad  49.9 méadar go Maigh Chromtha le cúnamh ó thionlacan Garda thar 4 oíche. Ba iad na bíomaí is faide riamh d’Éirinn agus don RA. Gan ach 200mm ar airde le spáráil ag taisteal trí Thollán Jack Lynch, ceann de na dúshláin ba mhó a bhí ann ná na bíomaí 155 tona a aisiompú go háit agus gan ach cúpla orlach le spáráil ag an áirse chloiche reatha  ag “An Droichead Nua” i Maigh Chromtha.  Tá an chuid nua den bhóthar dhéanta de dhá lána, ag dul an dá threo araon,  scartha le bacainn chruach. Tógadh 48 príomhstruchtúr ar an iomlán lena n-áirítear trí dhroichead abhann, trí thardhroichead agus ceithre fodhroichead, ballaí, lintéir agus bacainní comhshaoil chun torann a laghdú, chomh maith le 132,000 méadar cearnach de chosán.

Agus é ag oscailt seachbhóthair nua Mhaigh Chromtha go hoifigiúil, dúirt an Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, T.D. “Arna sheachadadh faoi Thionscadal Éireann 2040, feabhsóidh Seachbhóthar Mhaigh Chromtha sábháilteacht agus inrochtaineacht do phobail áitiúla a úsáidfidh an bóthar seo go rialta chomh maith leo siúd a bheidh ag taisteal idir Corcaigh agus Ciarraí. Spreagfaidh sé fás eacnamaíoch, ag tacú le tuilleadh infheistíochta agus fostaíochta sa réigiún. Táim ag tnúth le Maigh Chromtha agus an réigiún níos leithne a fheiscint ag dul ó neart go neart sna blianta amach romhainn agus guím turas sábháilte ar gach duine a thaistealaíonn ar an mbóthar.”

Dúirt an tAire Iompair Eamon Ryan TD.: “Cuireann an seachbhóthar seo borradh faoi  Mhaigh Chromtha, ag cinntiú gur féidir leis an mbaile tosnú ag rathú mar áit ar mian le daoine cónaí ann agus cuairt a thabhairt air gan imní faoi bhrú tráchta. Feabhsóidh sé an tsábháilteacht do gach úsáideoir bóithre agus osclóidh sé féidearthachtaí chun athshamhlú a dhéanamh ar conas is féidir le Maigh Chromtha a fhorbairt anois, ag teacht le polasaí an Rialtais ‘Lár an Bhaile ar dtús' a bhaineann le ‘áitiú a dhéanamh’, ag cinntiú go dtógtar bailte timpeall ar dhaoine seachas gluaisteáin. Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil le Bonneagar Iompair Éireann agus le Comhairle Contae Chorcaí as a gcuid oibre ar an tionscadal go dtí seo agus táim ag tnúth le seachadadh deiridh an tionscadail seo.”

Dúirt Peter Walsh Príomhfheidhmeannach Bhonneagar Iompair Éireann (TII) “Tá soláthar gréasán sábháilte bóithre náisiúnta ar cheann de na príomhchúraimí atá ar BIÉ. Le hoscailt Sheachbhóthar Mhaigh Chromtha cuirfear feabhas láithreach ar shábháilteacht d’úsáideoirí bóithre agus coisithe, feabhsóidh sé freisin cáilíocht na beatha do dhaoine a chónaíonn, a oibríonn agus a thugann cuairt ar bhaile Mhaigh Chromtha. Táimid ag tnúth le tionscadal iomlán N22 Baile Bhuirne go Maigh Chromtha a thabhairt chun críche in 2024.”

Dúirt Príomhfheidhmeannach Chomhairle Contae Chorcaí, Tim Lucey, “Is céim shuntasach é Seachbhóthar Mhaigh Chromtha N22 do réigiún Chorcaí agus Chiarraí. Próiseas casta is ea mórphíosa bonneagair straitéisigh den sórt seo a chur chun cinn chuig an bpointe seo agus is forbairt thar a bheith tábhachtach é don réigiún ar fad. Feabhsóidh an scéim ríthábhachtach seo sábháilteacht bóithre agus amanna turais. Chomh maith leis sin, bainfidh sé brú tráchta agus feabhsóidh sé nascacht idir Corcaigh agus Ciarraí, ag éascú forbairt inbhuanaithe ar fud an chontae. Tá an chuid seo atá ag oscailt roimh an spriocdháta agus de réir an bhuiséid ina teist ar an obair chrua a dhein gach éinne a bhí páirteach ann. Bhí ar na conraitheoirí dul i ngleic le tír-raon dúshlánach ó aibhneacha agus féarach go talamh cnocach iargúlta. Iarracht chomhoibríoch a bhí sa tionscadal seo ón tús agus ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil le muintir Mhaigh Chromtha, Bonneagar Iompair Éireann, na comhchonraitheoirí Jons Civil Engineering agus Jon Craddock JV Ltd, an iliomad comhairleoirí dearaidh atá againn, faoi stiúir Mott McDonald Ireland Ltd le déanaí, úinéirí talún agus gnólachtaí,  agus na céadta cuideachta agus daoine aonair eile a bhí páirteach le fiche bliain anuas chun cabhrú linn an chloch mhíle seo a bhaint amach inniu.”