TOLLING the South Ring Road is one of the options being considered by the NRA to protect the busy route from future traffic congestion.
NRA engineers briefed city councillors recently, informing them that upgrading the Dunkettle Interchange alone will not solve traffic problems along the N40, as traffic volumes increase into the future.
The South Ring Road is one of Ireland’s busiest routes, carrying 76,000 vehicles every day.
As a result the NRA said further measures may be required, such as upgrades to other junctions, smart signage which directs traffic to their correct lanes, new secondary road routes at key locations and finally fiscal measures such as tolling to reduce traffic volumes.
The NRA, recently renamed Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), is currently preparing a Demand Management Study for the South Ring Road.
It will identify measures that will ensure the capacity along the N40 is protected over its lifetime as demand rises in the future.
Placing a toll on the N40 is one of the future phases — despite assurances from the current Government that there are no plans to install tolls.
At a recent meeting of Cork City Council’s Strategic Policy Committee on Roads an engineer with the TII said their emerging strategy recommends targeted upgrades of certain interchanges along the N40, followed by smart motorway interventions that would reduce traffic merging.
New alternative secondary road routes are also planned, such as a new route connecting Cork Airport to the Sarsfield Road and linking the Carrigaline Road to the Grange Road with a new bridge at Donnybrook.
The final phase of the strategy would consider some fiscal measures such as road tolls.
The issue of tolling has been raised on numerous previous occasions particularly in relation to upgrades of the Dunkettle Interchange. However tThe current Government have ruled out any tolls on the Cork network on a number of occasions. Last November the Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said the Jack Lynch Tunnel will not be tolled in the lifetime of the Government.
In their presentation to councillors tThe TII said they will complete an appraisal of the emerging Demand Management Study for the N40 including consultations with various stakeholders before the document is finalised.