Garda chief sees a ‘potentially hazardous situation’ at County Limerick junction

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

THE most senior garda in the Bruff district says he sees “a potentially hazardous situation” arising at O’Rourke’s Cross after the National Roads Authority refused to extend the 60kph speed limit at each side of the junction.

THE most senior garda in the Bruff district says he sees “a potentially hazardous situation” arising at O’Rourke’s Cross after the National Roads Authority refused to extend the 60kph speed limit at each side of the junction.

In a letter to Paul Crowe, the director of transportation services with Limerick County Council, the NRA stated that they considered that the proposal to extend the 60km speed limit by approximately 100m on the north and south sides of O’Rourke’s Cross was “not appropriate” nor would it provide “an effective remedy for the reported lack of adherence to the exiting speed limit at this location”.

“We understand that the regional road safety engineer has been in touch with both the county council engineers and the gardai with a view to identifying an appropriate solution to improve the safety at the junction,” the correspondence states.

Speaking at a Kilmallock area meeting, Superintendent Alan Cunningham of Bruff garda station said he would like to see the speed limit extended, particularly at the Limerick side of the junction, which is located near Bruree.

Supt Cunningham pointed out that the 60kmh speed limit sign is located very close to the entrance to the filling station at the junction. The garda chief gave the example of how a lorry driver travelling at 100khr coming from the Limerick direction carrying a 40 tonne load on his vehicle is left with very little time to slow down if a car in front of him decides to pull into the service station.

Supt Cunningham called on the NRA to give “serious consideration” to extend the speed limit on the Limerick side. “I see a potentially very hazardous situation,” he warned.

Cllr Mike Donegan said it was “frightening” to stand back at the junction for five minutes and observe what is going on.

“My opinion is that from day one the NRA got this absolutely wrong and they don’t want to admit it. As a councillor I don’t know what else I can do. Do we just wait now for an accident to happen?,” he asked.

A study carried out earlier this summer revealed that a staggering 89% of traffic travelling through O’Rourke’s Cross exceeded the speed limit during a half hour observation period by the gardai.

It was also revealed that between the years 2000 and 2012, a total of 30 collisions have occurred in the vicinity of the busy junction. The figures were revealed at a Kilmallock area meeting in July and were compiled through traffic monitoring.