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Contentious BusConnects plan for bridge through Cork woods dropped

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A contentious BusConnects plan to build a bridge through an urban woodland on the southside of Cork city has been dropped, the Irish Examiner can reveal.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that it was no longer pursuing the proposal to run the road through the Mangala woods in Douglas, as was suggested in its initial draft proposals for its Kinsale Road to Douglas sustainable transport corridor (STC).

It is the first major change to the BusConnects Cork STC proposals since the draft plans for 12 STCs city-wide were unveiled for public consultation earlier this year.

While the broad vision of BusConnects Cork has been widely welcomed, the removal of hundreds of on-street parking spaces, the compulsory purchase of gardens, and the removal of hundreds of trees, have sparked controversy.

The Mangala bridge proposal was among the most contentious proposals, generating a block of opposition locally, and prompting a wave of submissions from the public expressing concern and horror at the proposal.

But in a briefing to city councilors on Wednesday afternoon, the NTA said the Mangala bridge plan was now off the table.

In a statement to the Irish Examinerthe NTA confirmed the proposed bridge, which would have connected the Grange Road to Carrigaline Road, will not be included in the revised proposals for the Kinsale Road to Douglas STC.

“The NTA is currently reviewing the almost 3,000 submissions made by the public as part of the first round of consultation on the 12 proposed STCs for Cork,” it said.

It is anticipated that the next round of public consultation will begin with the revised proposals in the spring of 2023.”

The NTA also said the delivery of the southern distributor road, connecting Rochestown and Douglas to Grange and Frankfield and onwards to the Sarsfield Road remains a longer-term objective of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transportation Strategy.

Local Fine Gael councilor Shane O’Callaghan, who facilitated several meetings between local residents and the NTA soon after the draft STC plans were published, welcomed the announcement.

“I would like to commend Hugh Creegan and the NTA for their willingness to listen to the concerns raised by local councilors such as myself, local community organizations such as Douglas Tidy Towns and local activists such as Nina O’Neill in Douglas Now,” he got

I would also like to thank the NTA for taking those concerns onboard and making dramatic changes to the Bus Connects plan as a result.

“As the proposal to build a bridge over the Mangala is no longer part of the BusConnects plan, it will not go directly to An Bord Pleanála as part of BusConnects.

“I am hopeful that the decision on the proposal will now revert to the city council so that the councilors can decide on whether the proposal should go ahead.”

It is understood that no other changes to the draft STC routes will be announced until the NTA issues its revised route plans in March.

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