Final phase of N22 Macroom to Baile Bhuirne bypass opens
The final section of the N22 Macroom to Baile Bhuirne bypass has been officially opened, marking the completion of the €280 million project. Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Frank O'Flynn, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, and Cork County Council Chief Executive Valerie O'Sullivan were among those present for the official opening.
The completed dual carriageway now extends from the eastern side of Macroom at Coolcower to the western side of Baile Bhuirne. In addition to bypassing Macroom Town, it also provides relief for Baile Mhic Íre and Baile Bhuirne.
This upgrade in road infrastructure offers a significant enhancement to the connectivity between Cork and Kerry, boasting four junctions and 101 principal structures, including river bridges, overbridges, underbridges, retaining walls, bases for variable message signs, culverts, and environmental barriers.
Mayor Cllr Frank O'Flynn noted the immediate positive impact of the project on Macroom, with air pollution decreasing by over 50% in the town after the initial section opened in December 2022. Similar benefits are expected for Baile Mhic Íre and Baile Bhuirne.
The reduced presence of heavy goods vehicles will contribute to safer access for local schools and businesses, further improving the area's appeal for housing developments.
This newly opened stretch of road features one of the deepest excavations and blasts ever undertaken in Ireland, with over 500,000 cubic metres of rock removed during a two-year period, and the excavated rock was repurposed as the foundation material for the entire project.
The project began in January 2020 and at its peak, over 300 construction staff were working each day. A workforce of 2,200 people, made up of engineers, designers, planners, supervisors, drivers, carpenters, steel fixers, and many others, were directly involved in the project, with 1.8 million work-hours invested in its construction.
Speaking about the bypass, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD said: “The completion of this eagerly anticipated bypass will be of great benefit to the residents of Cork and Kerry and the many visitors to this beautiful region.”
“This road will reduce journey times, remove congestion from the towns and villages along the route and lower the fuel costs associated with idling in traffic congestion. With traffic redirected to the main road, existing roads can be developed to facilitate safer cycling and walking routes between local areas,” he said.
“By improving connectivity between Cork, Killarney and Tralee for business and tourism, this project will boost local, regional and national development.This project is an impressive feat of engineering and I would like to commend everyone who has been involved from the contractors, to Cork County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland,” he added.
Ahead of the official opening, a 5km race and walk organised by West Muskerry AC took place on the new bypass section. This event raised funds for the Ionad Lae Day Centre in Baile Bhuirne and the local GAA club, Naomh Abán.