LIMERICK City Council look set to prioritise funding for traffic lights on the Thomond Bridge next year.
The busy junction, which is home to King John’s Castle, the Clancy Strand boardwalk and St Munchin’s Church is expected to get four sets of traffic lights, after northside councillor Tom Shortt made a submission to the roads department, which decides on the location of lights in the city.
The Labour councillor believes the traffic lights “will probably save a life, and definitely help to reduce the number of accidents” in the area.
He said that many pedestrians risk their lives crossing the road to get to St Munchin’s Church, or onto the boardwalk on Clancy Strand.
“In recent years Limerick City Council has encouraged walking in the area for recreational and tourism purposes with the installation of the boardwalk and the paving of Clancy Strand. The council must now finish the job properly now and make the area genuinely safe for all road users, pedestrians and motorists alike by installing a modern set of traffic lights at the Thomondgate end of the Thomond bridge.”
One of the major factors causing collisions is when traffic travels downhill along the High Road from the direction of Thomond Park.
As there is poor visibility from the bend as the road approaches the bridge and the junction with Clancy Strand, accidents do happen.
“Without lights that crossroads junction is a free for all, yet he says it is not much different in layout to the junction coming off Sarsfield Bridge at the Strand Hotel where traffic lights have been a feature for decades,” he added, “Cars can be left waiting for a long time to turn onto the High Road or onto Thomond Bridge from Clancy Strand and this can become a very dangerous manoeuvre when two lanes of traffic develop coming down the hill from Thomond Park and drivers on the inside lane cannot see that the middle lane has stopped to allow a car to cross over into Thomondgate down by Bowles pub leading to regular collisions.”
Cllr Shortt added: “On one corner St. Munchin’s Church accommodates large crowds attending funerals and weddings with elderly people in particular very vulnerable due to the lack of a safe place to cross. On the opposite corner the Treaty Stone attracts bus loads of tourists unfamiliar with the area, crossing over and back looking for good vantage points to take photographs of King John’s Castle.”
In his submission, Cllr Shortt pointed to the difference the newly installed traffic lights have made at the junction of the Condell Road, with the Salesians roundabout, and at the junction of William Street and Wickham Street.
“These junctions are now much safer for pedestrians and motorists alike and put an end to years of pedestrians and motorists taking chances and risks.”
However, the decision to install the traffic lights on the northside is not expected to be rubber-stamped until December at the Budget Meeting.