Education News



Geography case-studies
Page 1 (2000)

NEW Case-Studies.
Page 2 (2001)

Geography case-studies
Page 3(2001)


Other Sites
of Interest

  • Traffic Management in Cork
  • New oil & gas find off Cork
  • The Jack Lynch Tunnel
  • Waste Management in Cork
  • Recycling in Cork
  • The Blackpool Bypass (Cork City)
  • Traffic Plan 1973
  • Civitas Plan 2001
  • The New Dump ! A classic Land-Use-Conflict (coming soon !)


  • This page is soon to be updated. Have you any interesting case-studies that you would like to share with other teachers ? If so email us right away !!


    Cork's ever confusing traffic system to change AGAIN !!

    In early October a new two-way traffic system will come into operation in Cork city centre. The direction change on the South Quays (between the Opera House and Jury's Inn) will mark the commencement of a new Traffic Management scheme. It will provide a two-way routing between Christy Ring Bridge and Michael Collins Bridge. The Quays affected will be Lavitt's Quay, Merchant's Quay and Anderson's Quay. Cork Corporation consulted widely with Gardai, Bus Eireann and local businesses in the implementation of the changes. There are more changes to come in the near future too as part of an overall transportation policy designed to improve the environment of the city centre. Most of the rest of the changes will come on-line with the ending of the Main Drainage Works, or after the revamp of Patrick's Street and Grand Parade. A strong rumour suggests that Mac Curtain Street is soon to become two-way again.
    The big question is .... will these changes solve the mystery of Corks streets for the hapless visitors who drive round and round and round ..... searching for order and sanity on our crazy streets ??? I guess we'll just have to wait and see !

    The Ramco Explorations

    In October 2001, 200 miles West of Kinsale on the Seven Heads field, an Aberdeen-based company called Ramco has found substantial gas and oil deposits.
    It is planned to develop the field and to link it to the existing Kinsale Head field for piping ashore. The find is expected to yield enough gas to extend the lifespan of the Kinsale Head field by 20 years. Not a moment too soon either, as the Kinsale Head gas field is due to run out shortly. Esso conducted tests here in the 70's but the field was not regarded as commercially viable back then as oil cost only $7 a barrel.
    The discovery of the new gas supply is great news for Cork Port which will benefit from servicing the field. An Irish consortium Northern Petroleum holds a minor stake in the field, which will hopefully lead to the creation of more offshore employment for Irish workers. The development of this new field will be seen as competition for the Corrib field off the North West coast, but it will hopefully lead to a reduction in the amounts of gas we are importing from Scotland. This will have knock-on effects for our balance of payments.

    The Blackpool Bypass

    The need for the Blackpool By-Pass was first identified under the Land Use And Transportation Study ( LUTS ) for the Cork area in 1978. The proposed length of the road was to be 1.67 kilometres, and was to extend from Leitrim Street to the new Mallow Road.
    The main function of the Blackpool By-Pass is to enable traffic to avoid the congested areas of Blackpool, especially Watercourse Road, by Blackpool Church and Thomas Davis Street. Traffic is unduly delayed on these routes and in turn these areas suffer from the effects of traffic congestion, noise pollution, fumes, difficulties for pedestrians crossing the street, plus a lack of parking on the roadside also. Because of these traffic problems it was felt that social activity and the expression of a community lifestyle were seriously inhibited and affected in Blackpool village.
    Blackpool is the traditional economic focus of the northside of the city and is seen as one of the areas likely to be prominent in any strategy for its economic regeneration. Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s Blackpool was a vibrant village but it has since become the major access route north towards Mallow and onto Limerick, and with car ownership increasing traffic problems began to cause problems on the narrow roads.
    The proposed new road is to consist of a four lane carriageway, providing two lanes inbound and two lanes outbound, plus a footpath on both sides for pedestrians.
    It is suggested that overall pollution from fumes and noise will be reduced because of the new road, as cars will have less of a chance causing congestion, and a minimising of stopping and starting in traffic jams. It is felt that the socio-economic climate of Blackpool will also improve as the through traffic will be removed and a more community orientated atmosphere will occur. The Cork Land Use and Transportation Study (LUTS) started in 1976 with its recommendations and report published in 1978. The purpose of this study was to develop a plan for the growth and development of the Greater Cork Area. The main objectives of the study were;
    1) to provide for future population in respect of its development needs, including a framework for job creation,
    2) to be realistic in regard to investment for the plan to be implemented.

    Included in this was the idea to promote the local economy by using local resources, to secure equitable accessibility and to minimise environmental impact on and disruption of existing communities. This plan contained comprehensive proposals for new roads in the area, including the North Ring Road, the South Ring Road and a downstream crossing which would link the South Link Road with the Dublin Road, including the road to East Cork and Waterford. The latter part of this was opened in May 1999 with the implementation of the Jack Lynch Tunnel.
    LUTS identified Blackpool as an area that was suffering due to traffic congestion, particularly at Brewery Corner and at Blackpool Church. The plan said this would continue to deteriorate as traffic problems increased. To relieve the traffic congestion, a relief route was suggested to avoid these congested locations and to link up with the North Ring Road at the Glen Hall with the realigned New Mallow Road (formerly the Commons Road). The intention was that this new route would cater for through traffic and that the existing road network would serve the residential and commercial traffic, thus improving the social fabric and development potential of the area.
    The plan also considered the environmental impact and concluded that the new Blackpool By-Pass would improve the Blackpool area once the bulk of the traffic was transferred to the new routeway. The new road would run from Brewery Corner at Leitrim Street, along the back of the present Watercourse Road and Thomas Davis Street, to a junction with the North Ring Road at the Glen Hall. From here the road will be elevated and will cross Thomas Davis Street via an overbridge/overpass. Here it will align itself with the New Mallow Road which will cut across an area known as the Pole Field.
    The Pole Field got its name from the ESB who stored poles for electrical cables there. Now a major shopping complex (47,000 sq. feet) is being located there in the field, with access from the by-pass to the new centre which will include a Dunnes Stores and Cineplex for the northside of the city.
    The Blackpool area lies in a natural valley of the Bride and the Glen rivers, which run in a north/south direction. Both rivers come together in the Pole Field and flow south in a series of culverts and open channels, eventually joining the Lee at Carrolls Quay. The relatively flat valley floor is approximately 200 metres wide and contains a mixture of residential, industrial and commercial development. Following a survey on traffic based on the American study of ‘Urban Arterials’, the traffic in the Blackpool is above the normal saturation levels and as a result the Corporation felt that the area is adversely affected as a result of traffic congestion. Because of how the Corporation felt the LUTS plan forwarded a set of proposals for improvements to the road system, public transport, traffic management and parking. The transport proposals were not seen as the ultimate solution but as an investment to alleviate and control the problems. One of the main aims of road investment was to provide an extra capacity to allow the improvement of public transport and environmental conditions.
    The function therefore of the Blackpool By-Pass is to relieve Blackpool while linking other improvements, such as - the Cork-Mallow route, the Valley Drive route to Hollyhill and the North Link Road to Lower Glanmire, so as to provide better local access and relief for the city centre. LUTS saw the opportunity to create a service centre in the area around Blackpool Church once the traffic problem was relieved by the by-pass, and saw this also as providing additional local employment and aiding the regeneration of the Blackpool area. Along with LUTS, the City Development Plans of 1979 and 1985, and the Blackpool Local Plan 1981, contain details for the development of the region.
    Regneration is beginning in Blackpool with local industries being catered for opposite the Church in a new development, it is too soon to see the actual impact of the by-pass until it is fully completed.The road is presently under construction with many of the sections surfaced, but the conclusion of the overpass is not due until 2001, parts of the road are being used like that of the Mallow Road but further in towards Brewery Corner have only been been cleared for development.

    Sources: Cork Corporation Roads Division, Impact Study on Blackpool 1991
    Niall Ahern (Cork Geography Teacher)

    Improving Corks Buses !

    The European Commission has announced the provision of £40 million for cities throughout the EU to promote public transport. Bus Eireann have been urged to put forward a proposal - and to favour Cork. This coincides nicely with the Governments own National Development Plan (2001-2006) which has some of the same aims !

    CIVITAS, derived from City-Vitality-Sustainability, wants to encourage more use of buses and other types of public transport, as well as the reduction of private cars in city centres. It will blend well with the new plans for Patrick Street and Grand Parade, where through traffic will be curtailed and priority given to buses. (Case-study appearing here SOON !!)

    Among Corks priorities are, putting more buses on the streets, setting up quality bus corridors and creating bus priority measures.


    The Jack Lynch Tunnel

    The idea for a crossing of the River Lee downstream of the city came from the Cork LUTS plan in 1978! The reasoning was that the congestion in the city centre and its radial routes was reaching intolerable levels as more and more traffic was caused by Corks expansion and general increases in car ownership.
    A 1981 feasability study recommended a tunnel as the least disruptive (to shipping) and least visually intrusive option. After public enquiries in 1985 and 1990, and an Environmental Impact Study in 1991, work finally began in 1995.

    The Lee tunnel (Properly named The Jack Lynch Tunnel), is a project linking Ringmahon and Dunkettle via the river Lee which was completed in May 1999.Tarmac walls, the company contracted to do the work are being paid by the central government, but the E.U. are paying 85% of the cost of the tunnel. (Tunnel coast = £70 million + £30 million on roads etc)
    The tunnel is expected to cater for 20,000 vehicles per day, and if it does so, it will radically reduce traffic conjestion in the city. The workers employed to do the work are expected to wear protective clothing such as hard-hat helmets and safety boots on site. At its peak there was 450 workers on site but that figure was later reduced to 220, 60% Irish, 40% other europeans.
    The tunnel has two seperate dual carriageways (each carriageway 3.75m wide).There is also be a service walkway about 1m across which doubles as an emergency escape. The construction involved the pre-casting of 3 huge tunnel segments. Each was 122m long and weighed approx 27,000 tonnes ! 785,000 tonnes of silt and alluvium and 300,000 tonnes of sand and gravel were excavated during the project !


    The environment within the tunnel will be controlled by a sophiscated array of monitors and a closed circuit TV and traffic control system. Lighting levels will be automatically controlled by external photocells linked to the computer management system to provide the level of lighting inside the tunnel most compatable with ambient light levels outside. To asisst drivers in adjusting their eyes, lighting will gradually brighten as you approach an exit.


    The benifits to Cork From the Lee tunnel will be a significant reduction in traffic congestion along with improved access to the city, suburban and harbour areas afforded by the ring road network. In this way the tunnel will contribute to the ongoing revitalisation and environmental improvement in the city and to commercial and economic activity in the region overall. In addition a fringe benefit will be the opportunities for local employment, materials and services to be supplied to the project during construction. Journey times are estimated to be 10-15 mins shorter across the city. However, the completion of the tunnel now means that Patrick Street and the city-centre area can now be partly pedestrianised as there is no longer a need for traffic to travel through these areas to get around Cork! The Tunnel Contract itself , at IR£ 67m, is the largest single infrastructural contract ever.

    Cork Waste Management Strategy

    The 25-Year Plan

    Background to the plan;
    * At present the average Corkonian produces three-quarters of a tonne of waste a year ! * By the year 2020 this will have risen to one and a half tonnes per year.

    * An international body of consultants drew up a startegy for future waste management which the Cork County Council and Cork Corporation implemented in 1995.

    The Plan

    Option 1;
    Reduce and recycle at home and local level

    * This will reduce waste to landfill sites by a massive 25%. It was planned to construct Bring Sites for glass, paper/cardboard, plastics and textiles. 160 sites will be in action by the year 2000, rising to 350 in 2020. Glass bottle banks will be districuted to pubs and clubs and restaurants in the city (195 by 2000, 285 by 2020).
    * Home composting will be introduced into 45,000 households.
    * Bulky and Hazardous waste will be collected at Civic Amenity Sites , which will also handle glass, cans, etc. on a large scale.

    Option 2;
    Reduce and recycle at home and local and Municipal level

    * This will further reduce waste to landfill sites by another 20%, by using greater pre-treatment technology, and mechanical separation and centralised composting.

    Option 3;
    Reduce and recycle and Incinerate

    * Yet another 20% reduction in landfill waste when added to options 1 and 2.
    Energy recovery would also be enviaged here. Cork Corporation and Wimpey/EPC are developing a Rnewable Energy Project at Kinsale Road Landfill Site.

    It involves collection of the Methane gas produced during the degradation of landfill waste, and the generation of 2 Megawatts of electricity.
    The electricity will be sold to the E.S.B. for use in the National Grid.

    The Solution

    All of the outlined options will work. However, the key to their effectiveness is public participation. A Public Awareness Scheme was launched which targeted schools, libraries, comunity centres and residents associations.

    We are the Key !


    Recycling in action in Cork

    Earthwatch estimate that 1.1 million tonnes of household and commercial waste is disposed of annually by local authorities.
    The following table shows what this waste is made up of.

    Decomposable Matter 31.5% Paper 24.% Plastic 14% Ashes 12% Glass 7.5% Scrap Metal 3% Other Waste 7.5%



    There is a potential 80,0000 tonnes of glass containers in Ireland available for recycling. At the moment we only recycle 11,000 tonnes of this (13%). There are 28 jobs created by glass recycling. Can we do better than this ?


    Our use of plastics for packaging is ever increasing. This year alone saw the disposal of over 60,000 tonnes of waste plastic.
    Waste plastic can be converted into substitute timber posts, markers, crash barriers and even insulation for rain jackets. The worst form of plastic polution is the shopping bag! Use cotton bags for your shopping, and when you don't need a bag, refuse one!


    Metal is valuable. Just look at all of those Scrap Metal Dealers around your city. Think before you dispose of it.


    * Fully utilise paper, use both sides, choose unbleached recycled paper.
    Old paper can be reused for telephone messages etc.
    * Use a compost heap in your garden. Dump all vegetable matter on it instead of putting it in the bin. Use the compost as a fertiliser for your garden.
    * Use returnable and refill systems provided by shops and companies.
    * Unwanted clothes, blankets and furniture will always be useful to charities and second-hand shops. Old clothes can now be recycled.
    * Old spectacles can be given back to opticians for redistribution in Developing Countries.
    * Do not waste what you have. Turn off the tap when washing your teeth. A family can save litres of purified wayter every day like this.

    You are the Key !
    Think Green ! Act Green !
    Others will follow your example !


    Traffic Plan 1973

    Do you get caught up in traffic often ?

    Do you crave for a solution to the frustrating gridlock, frayed tempers, road-rage and time loss ?

    Of course help is at hand, what with the development of the Lee Tunnel, and the constant improvement of our link road systems which bypass the traffic blackspots.

    These ongoing improvements are part of the LUTS (Land-Use and Transportation System) plan. However, the plan that predated the LUTS is worthy of a little study just to see what might have been !

    The year is 1973.

    The Problem is traffic.

    The city is in chaos !


    Widen the Quays Widen South Main st.
    and Castle st.
    Build a 6-lane
    elevated highway

    Yes ! That is correct. A six-lane elevated highway was the plan of the time. Cork was very close to a Los Angeles type solution !

    The highway would have encircled the C.B.D. running from Wellington Road to The Boreenamanna Road and continuing around the C.B.D. As I hope you can imagine, this part of the plan generated quite a lot of controversy.
    The solution was very expensive, and is thus never again likely to be considered. However, it came about as the result of a survey which cost thousands of pounds.

    Most worrying of all..... The plan was accepted by the Corporation with only one dissenting vote !

    The cost of the plan and public outcry forced a welcome rethink. The successor to the doomed plan was the Cork LUTS plan, which is nearing completion.