CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build a bus lane on the Ballinacurra Road look set to be passed at next month’s council meeting.
The €2.5m plan, which will see hundreds of car parking spaces scrapped in favour of a green bus route stretching from the Crescent Shopping Centre to Punch’s Cross, look likely to go ahead – despite the majority of the ruling Fine Gael party not being in favour of the scheme.
Two members of the eight-strong Fine Gael bloc at City Hall, Cllr Diarmuid Scully and Cllr Michael Hourigan are expected to join Labour councillors Orla McLoughlin, Gerry McLoughlin and Tom Shortt in voting for the proposal when executives present them with the plan.
Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan, a long-time supporter of the green routes plan, and Independent members Kathleen Leddin, John Gilligan and Kevin Kiely will ensure there is a majority in favour of the scheme.
The news comes as a blow to residents on the southside, who have long been opposed to the scheme, arguing that their lives will be endangered by buses passing at high speed, as well as a drop in value of their homes.
The Ballinacurra Road Residents Association earlier this year won a landmark case against Limerick City Council which forced the local authority to halt construction of the bus lanes.
They successfully argued to High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Kearns that City Hall executives did not follow the correct procedure in surveying residents on the issue.
Since then, the transport department has been working to find a compromise with residents, with plans to convert a dirt track at the back of homes on the Ballinacurra Road into a well-lit CCTV-surveyed parking area on the way.
And the second phase of the bus lane scheme, which will connect Punch’s Cross to the city centre, may miss out O’Connell Avenue altogether, with city engineer Vincent Murray hinting the Childers Road could be a preferred approach to the city.