What is the solution to traffic problems in Cork a bridge over or a tunnel under the River Lee?

A public inquiry has opened to examine whether a bridge or a tunnel should be built in Cork in an effort to solve the city's traffic congestion.

Cork City Council has told the inquiry that a tunnel must be built under the River Lee to solve the serious traffic problems. However, the company which built Dublin’s East and West Link bridges has challenged this and said that it can build a bridge across the river at a much cheaper price.

This inquiry follows on from one in 1985 that recommended that the new river crossing should be by tunnel.

The crossing is needed to solve Cork’s traffic congestion.

The new crossing would link the roads around the city thereby diverting traffic away from Cork city centre. The 1985 inquiry failed to resolve the issue and a new inquiry was ordered by the Minister for the Environment.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Charles Haughey gave his full commitment to the construction of a new river crossing. Today’s Cork Examiner newspaper claims that commitment refers to the construction of a bridge.

The decision on whether a bridge or a tunnel should be constructed is important to Cork Port as there are more than three and a half thousand shipping movements every year in the harbour.

Cork City Council today told the inquiry that there should be tunnel crossing. The company National Toll Roads, which built the East and West link bridges in Dublin, has a different view. They claim that they can build a bridge for £25 million and that the tunnel would cost significantly more.

An RTÉ News reports on 24 July 1990. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.