COUNCILLORS and locals say one part of ongoing traffic calming measures could cause, instead of prevent, accidents.
Half a million euro is being spent on the NRA and Limerick City and County Council project in Dromkeen on the N24. An issue has arisen for large vehicles coming from the Limerick side who want to turn left for Cappamore. As the pictures show a big footpath has been built. Trucks drivers who want to go left have to leave their own lane to make the turn as it is so “narrow”. And they can’t turn in if there are cars at the junction so they have to wait until they exit onto the Main Road.
Cllr Noel Gleeson says he welcomes traffic calming but “the turn in to Cappamore is completely and utterly wrong”.
“The concrete is coming out too far. There is no room for a lorry to turn. Take the corner off it and we will all be happy. I have spoken to them and what they are saying is they don’t want to break the contract. They say they will survey it when it is finished. When a car pulls up at the cross from Cappamore - to see the space that is left, it is pure stupid,” said Cllr Gleeson.
When these photographs were taken on Saturday afternoon about 20 cars were backed up behind the truck because he couldn’t turn as there were five cars at one point coming from Cappamore.
Timmy Long, of East Limerick Community Radio, had to stop the traffic travelling from Pallasgreen to let the cars out. Only then could the truck turn in. Cllr Gleeson is worried that if there is a backlog behind a lorry that a motorbike might try and overtake and collide a car coming out from the junction.
Cllr Eddie Ryan, chairman of the Cappamore/Kilmallock municipal district, said the traffic calming measures at Dromkeen cross are welcomed by all road users.
“However, some locals have expressed the view that the footpath may be too high and too wide at the junction for Cappamore. If the junction has to be altered now is the time to do it and that the road design team and the NRA should work together to ensure that the cost of any alterations or realignments should be borne by the NRA,” said Cllr Ryan.
Brendan Ryan, a director of Martin Ryan & sons, stressed they are not opposed to safety in any manner or form but “what was done there to improve safety has, in my view, made it worse and made it more hazardous”.
“The way it was before you could turn off the Main Road in safe circumstances and you were staying in your own lane. Coming from the Limerick side you have to go to completely the wrong side of the road. If a car is at the cross it is physically impossible to get around the car. You have to wait until the car comes out. The width of the footpath is ridiculous,” said Brendan, who brought it to the attention of engineers.
“We said it to them from the start, before any concrete was down, that there was going to be a hazard.
“We were told it was generated on an expert package on a computer. It may work on a computer screen but that isn’t always reality. All you want is a safe solution for everybody and not increase the possibility of a fatal accident,” said Brendan.
The NRA and council both responded to queries.
A council spokesperson said: “The reason for reducing the radii at the junction of the N24 and the L-1137 Cappamore Road is to limit the potential for vehicles being able to turn into the side road at high speed thus reducing the risk of collision with any pedestrians using the junction.
“The council understood at the design stage that, as a result of the smaller radii, certain large vehicles intending to turn off the N24 into this side road would need to wait until vehicles leaving the side road had cleared the junction...
“However, we are aware of the concerns expressed from a number of quarters including local commercial interests regarding the junction design.
“The council had previously agreed to review the operation of the junction once the scheme is complete, free of temporary traffic management and operating as it has been designed to do.
“As construction is nearly complete, we expect that the council will be in a position to conduct this exercise in the next week or so. The council will then review the outcome and determine if any changes to the junction layout are necessary.”