Thousands of motorists accessing the city centre from the north and east will face major disruption for up to a month when one of Cork’s busiest bridges closes for refurbishments.
The closure of Brian Boru Bridge near the bus station will mean entire swathes of the north and east of the city will face long diversions.
The bridge closure, which starts next Saturday, July 21, has been criticised by business leaders who said it could have a major impact on trade.
Cars, buses and trucks coming from MacCurtain Street and St Luke’s will have to divert around Kent Railway Station as a result of the closure.
Bus Éireann said it is working on alternative routes for their buses and said timetables could be affected.
The bridge will close from 9pm on Saturday, July 21, until 6am on Monday, August 20.
The closure is needed to carry out major refurbishment works, including removing all paint work from the 100-year-old bridge.
As much of the older paint is lead-based, the entire bridge will have to be covered in plastic to stop any dust contaminating the air or river.
Significant works will also take place underneath the bridge with some scaffolding already in place.
The National Roads Authority (NRA) who are carrying out the work said the bridge closure was unavoidable and they timed the work so the bridge will be reopened in time for the return of the schools from summer holidays.
However, Donal Healy of the Cork Business Association criticised the short notice and urged the NRA to keep one lane of traffic and a footpath open.
“We have seen repeatedly in Cork how the closure of a street has an immediate impact on trade and I am sure many will be negatively affected by this closure,” he said.
City Councillor Joe Kavanagh said the closure will have a major impact on the ability of northside motorists and pedestrians accessing the city centre.
“Work is regularly carried out on other bridges without having to close them completely for a month. This could also impact on access for emergency vehicles,” he said.
Martin Walsh of Bus Éireann said: “We are preparing contingency plans and alternative routes but timetables could be affected by longer routes,” he said.