Parking on double yellow lines and on footpaths compounds traffic issues in Cootehill.

Cootehill traffic issues highlighted

Transport plans to be drawn up

There are concerns over traffic levels in Cootehill. Councillors last week approved major plans, which could see over 200 new jobs created in the town, but a knock-on increase in traffic was highlighted as a concern.

The Cavan Road approach into the town centre in particular was highlighted as a blackspot, with long delays often reported at its junction with Bridge Street.

The narrow street, coupled with people parking on footpaths or double yellow lines, make traversing the route a challenge at busy times and near impossible for lorries at certain points.

Councillors were clear in their backing for the plans for the Cootehill Enterprise Park and the move won unanimous support from elected members.

However, the need for a solution to ongoing traffic issues was called for.

“There’s an awful traffic issue in the town already,” said Fine Gael Councillor Carmel Brady.

“You’re putting more traffic onto an already busy road.”

School times and traffic travelling from the Abbott facility at opening and closing times were highlighted as particularly busy periods.

Cllr Aiden Fitzpatrick (FF) supported the call saying the junction of the Cavan Road and Bridge Street, known as Connolly’s Corner, is a particular issue.

The junction of the Cavan Road and Bridge Street has been highlighted as a traffic bottleneck.

“Businesses will depend on lorries for transport. Connolly’s Corner creates problems, especially if two lorries meet.”

Municipal District Chair, Sinn Féin Cllr Paddy McDonald, suggested the old Cavan Road/Cavan Street should be opened to two way traffic. The street is currently one way, with traffic only permitted to travel from its junction with Market Street to the Cavan road.

“Cavan Street should be made into a two-way system to take the pressure off. It should be looked into.”

While accepting there are issues with traffic in Cootehill, council staff at the meeting were reluctant to commit to any particular solutions.

Senior Executive Engineer Derry Scanlan said he “didn’t envisage it [an increase in traffic] as an issue” if plans for the Cootehill Enterprise Park go ahead.

Alan Lyons, MD area manager, said this new road was simply an extension to the existing service road within the estate but he admitted there can be traffic issues within the town, especially on Fridays.

“There was a traffic study done in 2010, which identified issues with junctions in the town centre. No junction is perfect.

“Each development [within the enterprise park] will be an individual planning application so there will be a traffic examination as part of that application.”

Director of Services, Planning, Community and Economic Development Brendan Jennings said transport plans must be done for each town within Co Cavan but said he didn’t know when that would be carried out in Cootehill.

“It’s great news to see jobs coming. Development will happen incrementally over time. We won’t see it happening all of a sudden. I see the concerns over traffic but we are talking about additional jobs and growth for the town.”

East West Link

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan says a report on the long awaited East-West Link Road is expected shortly.

The route, linking Sligo and Dundalk through Co Cavan, has been discussed for almost three decades. It would see the upgrading of roads between Carrickmacross and Cavan Town, through Shercock and Cootehill.

Advocates say the Cavan section in particular is needed, given local companies’ reliance on road transportation and commuters travelling across the region.

The project was shelved in the mid-2000s with little work having taken place but a recent push saw funding allocated for appraisal work.

However, it recently emerged upgrade work may only be completed on certain sections of the route, something Minister Ryan confirmed in a response to a Parliamentary Question from local TD Niamh Smyth:

“In light of subsequent appraisal work that pointed to a very substantial cost if the full route were to be upgraded, the Department engaged with Cavan County Council in relation to carrying out a risk-based analysis for the east-west route between Dundalk and Cavan, which involves exploring the possibility of a series of interventions, which might improve the safety of the route, improve journey times and bring consistency to the travel speed along the route.”

A risk analysis is then expected to be carried out by individual county councils.