For the first time in decades, a two-way traffic system has come into place on Cork City’s MacCurtain St.
Trial arrangements taking place from Tuesday are allowing for two-way bus movement on the street as part of a new transport scheme. The scheme will officially be opened on Saturday.
From Sunday, the changes will allow all vehicles travelling down Summerhill North to turn right and drive westbound along MacCurtain St.
Several successful test drives westbound were previously carried out by Bus Éireann along the street to help engineers finalise the pavement layout as well as turning angles to make sure bus drivers could safely manoeuvre their vehicles around the left turn onto Bridge St.
A spokesperson for Cork City Council said: “Cork City Council is now completing the works on the MacCurtain Street Public Transport Improvement Scheme and has introduced the new two-way traffic system on the street in advance of the official opening of the scheme this Saturday.
“The arrangements will allow two-way bus movement, encouraging more people to use the bus when making their journeys into town.”
The council added that the traffic management barriers were taken down on Tuesday in order to “trial the two way system for the days preceeding the official opening on Saturday to observe and resolve any ‘teething’ issues, for example, ensuring optimal traffic light sequences”.
The multi-million euro upgrade on the street is on course to be completed by mid-December and will create a vital public transport corridor.
The plan includes improved pedestrian and cycling facilities, which have been under way across a vast area on the northern side of the city’s north channel for almost two years.
It has already resulted in widespread changes to traffic flow along several quays and bridges.
Tánaiste Micheál Martin is set to officially open the scheme on Saturday at 11am. A family fun day has also been organised.
Meanwhile, a Cork City bus service is to get double-decker vehicles.
The 216 route, which travels from Cork University Hospital to Monkstown via Grand Parade, Douglas, and Rochestown.
On Tuesday, Bus Éireann confirmed that the double-decker vehicles will be implemented to all six vehicles dedicated to the route during the first quarter of 2024.
“This is subject to required tree-cutting along the route being carried out to accommodate double-decker vehicles,” Stephen Kent said in response to a Labour Party parliamentary question.
“Bus Éireann and the local authority are currently engaged in this process.”
Labour Party representative for Cork Peter Horgan said he welcomes the double-deckers for the 216 bus service.
“People have told me their experiences with public transport where they have been left at the side of the road because the single-decker is too full by the time it gets to Maryborough Ridge or Douglas village.
“Ensuring people can get the bus to school and to work is critical to reduce the amount of congestion on our roads but they need the capacity to get on the bus in the first place.”