THE NATIONAL Roads Authority (NRA) may have to dig up and a change section of new road works outside Newcastle West, amid complaints that they are causing significant delays for local traffic at peak times.
The traffic calming works on the main N21 at Cullinagh, on the Kerry side of the town, were completed earlier this year in a bid to increase safety for motorists, pedestrians and local residents.
As part of the project, large concrete platforms were built out from the footpaths along the 50 kmph speed limit area.
However local county councillor Michael Collins said that motorists have begun experiencing problems with one of these platforms, which they feel is too close to a stacking lane for the Killoughteen turn off to allow for traffic to move freely.
He said that he has raised the issue with Limerick County Council, and would like to see action taken to rectify the problem sooner rather than later.
“The bulk of the works are serving their purpose very well, but there’s an issue when there’s a car waiting to turn right up to Killoughteen. When cars try to drive around the stacking lane, there’s barely enough room to make it through. Traffic gets stuck right the way back through town if it’s particularly busy.
“The biggest problem is, we’re coming into the summer tourist season and you’re going to have traffic coming to and from Kerry. If people are stopping there to turn up to Killoughteen, it could cause awful problems”.
Cllr Collins has raised the issue with the council’s roads department, which oversaw the construction on behalf of the NRA.
Senior roads engineer Pat O’Neill said that the council are aware of the issue and are carrying out an assessment to determine how big a problem it really is.
“We’re carrying out a survey of that junction to establish if there is a problem, and what needs to be done. Of course, safety is the 100% priority. We’re going to monitor the junction and speak to the NRA and the safety engineers that worked on site.
“Let’s not forget, the whole purpose of traffic calming is to slow down traffic. But it would be a pity if there are little blips.”
Mr O’Neill said that the council will be taking samples of traffic numbers at specific times of the day in order to determine if there is a backlog. He said that a decision will then be taken on what measures need to be implemented.
If the traffic calming works do need to be altered, it could represent another potentially embarrassing climb down for the NRA after it recently had to replace bridge strengthening works near Banogue.