Macroom Updates

Bypass Update

Under the N22 Scheme, 22kms of new dual carriageway will be constructed along the N22 Cork/ Killarney/ Tralee Road. The new dual carriageway will bypass both Macroom and Baile Mhúirne and will include: An online roundabout east of Macroom at Coolcower as well as five new offline roundabouts; 18 local road bridges and associated local road realignments; River bridges over the rivers Sullane, Laney, Foherish and Bohill, as well as a diversion of the River Owengarve and 24 farm underpasses /overpasses.
An investment of approximately €214m will be required to cover land costs, construction costs and all other costs arising. A number of advance work items have been/ are being progressed as follows: An advance fencing and site clearance contract was completed late in 2017. 3 archaeological contracts have been underway along the entire length of the new route since 2017. It is expected that on-site elements of these contracts will be completed in July/ August of this year. A detailed site investigation contract has been completed in order to assess the ground conditions likely to be encountered during the main construction works. An advance environmental works contract is currently underway. Works here include the creation of a suitable receiving environment for the long term translocation of the Kerry Slug as well as works to ensure the protection of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel which is present in the works area. This contract will be completed by August of this year.
Given the scale of the works required and the nature of the ground conditions which will be encountered on site, a 3 year construction period is anticipated for the main works. These main works are scheduled for a 2020 start in the Capital Investment Programme. However, construction start will be brought forward to 2019 if possible.

‘Leprechaun Economics’ at Briery Gap

We have now passed the second anniversary of the May 2016 fire that has left the Briery Gap closed down and Macroom Library transferred to rented accommodation. The tardiness in addressing the restoration was, at first, ascribed to concerns regarding insurance on the damaged building. But, in December 2017, Mr. Jim Molloy, Senior Executive Officer, CCC, gave an assurance that insurance would not be an issue that would delay progress.
But, as the Celtic Tiger roars back, building costs have soared and despite a grant of €250,000 being announced on February 13 2017, Cllr. Ted Lucey has now raised the spectre of a shortfall of approximately €1.5m to 2m for the refurbishment of the Briery Gap.
In 2017, Cllr. Lucey was told that Cork County Council had undertaken a competition for the procurement of a design team in autumn 2016. Schedule of works was to be as follows:
Stage 1 – Preliminary Design: Date of Appointment to End of February 2018
Stage 2 – Part VIII Planning: January 2018 to end of May 2018
Stage 3 – Detailed Design: January 2018 to end of September 2018
Stage 4 – Construction Procurement: September 2018 to December 2018
Stage 5 – Construction Works: January 2019 to December 2019
Stage 6 – Handover & Project Close-Out: December 2019 to December 2020.
Cork County Council noted that the programme periods are only indicative at this stage and that they would endeavour to have the Briery Gap Theatre available for use as both a theatre and a library prior to December 2019.
However, in a May 25th submission to the Blarney- Macroom Council meeting, Cllr. Lucey stated: It is extremely disappointing to learn of the shortfall of approximately €1.5m to 2m for the refurbishment of the Briery Gap. It has now been closed for the past two years due to fire. It is absolutely essential that the funding shortfall is found. Its closure is a huge loss to local businesses, schools, musical and drama groups from all the surrounding areas.
As I have highlighted in the past, it has been the heartbeat of Macroom and the Lee Valley area. Huge praise must be given to the board members who have continued to work tirelessly to keep a lot of events going. It’s becoming next to impossible and financially challenging to keep these shows going in the Riverside Park Hotel which is approximately 1.5km from the town centre.
I therefore request that Cork County Council explores all avenues to address the financial shortfall to ensure that this fine facility, which encompasses the theatre, cinema and library, is refurbished for the people of Macroom and the greater Lee Valley area.
To which Jim Molloy responded at the May 25 meeting as follows:
Cork County Council understands the importance of the Briery Gap to the whole community of Macroom and the greater Lee Valley. The council is currently examining how the funding short fall can be addressed. This is being done by examining what schemes that various Government Departments are currently running as well as those that they intend to run. Potential sources from European Union programmes are also being examined.
The council is also reviewing the design requirements for the Briery Gap to determine what if any potential cost reduction measures are available.
Cllr. Lucey has now requested a monthly report on progress and the Council agreed to that.