LIMERICK City Council is defending its decision to install a new set of traffic lights on one of the busiest commuter roads in the city.
The new set of lights on the Dock Road was switched on this Monday for testing before they go fully live in the coming weeks.
The lights, which are part of the City Council’s overall traffic plan for the city, are located a few hundred yards away from Shannon roundabout at the junction with O’Curry Street and near the entrance to Steamboat Quay.
Preparatory work has been ongoing in the area for several months and according to the local authority motorists will benefit in the long-term.
“We are confident that an opportunity [exists] on the Dock Road to put in place elements of the city council’s traffic plan -post tunnel and that is to try and provide for public transport infrastructure and mobility for all and that includes pedestrians, cyclists the young and the old,” said Rory McDermott, transport engineer at City Hall.
Despite the concerns of motorists, Limerick City Council insists the “intelligent” traffic signals will not result in lengthy tailbacks as traffic volumes on the Dock Road have reduced significantly since the Limerick Tunnel opened to traffic last July.
Rory McDermott says all road users will benefit one the lights are fully operational. “Traffic lights do make junctions safer. They are more efficient in the long term but in the first week or so when we are validating them and commissioning them people will get annoyed and I am aware of that,” he said.
There was also anger last September when a new set of traffic lights was installed on the Condell Road but according to Limerick City Council the impact on traffic has been negligible.
At the time, some councillors accused the council of installing the lights to “force” motorists to use the Limerick Tunnel.
Plans to replace Shannon Roundabout with traffic lights are being reviewed due to the success of those traffic lights.