A STAGGERING 89% of traffic travelling through O’Rourke’s Cross on the main Limerick to Cork road exceeded the speed limit during a half hour study by garda, it has been revealed.
And between the year 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 and were compiled through traffic monitoring of the junction.
“The superintendent is going to forward his statistics of the traffic monitoring results to the council which will be forwarded on to the NRA,” explained local Fianna Fail councillor Mike Donegan.
According to Cllr Donegan he was surprised to learn that 89% of the traffic going through O’Rourke’s Cross exceeded the speed limit during the half hour period “but having said that, it kind of summed up what I had being saying all along.
“I was making the case that the location of the speed limits is not working at present. What I have been saying for a long time is to extend the speed limits and have a location where the gardai can park to make people aware and get them into the habit of slowing down at that junction,” said Cllr Donegan.
Local councillors have called on the NRA to give the green light for an extension of the 60km speed limit which was introduced last year.
They want to see it extended 100 metres on either side of the junction.
A formal submission has been made by Limerick County Council to the NRA asking for the extension.
“It’s unfair, especially for strangers who might not be used to the junction - the last sign they see is the speed limit and then they are on top of the junction.
“It’s hard to criticise motorists when they are not maybe aware of the junction,” said Cllr Donegan.
In the region of 16,000 vehicles pass through the junction every day.
The potential for a fatal accident, local councillors say, is exacerbated by the absence of a proper bus stop facility and the fact that there is no pad for An Garda Siochana to park up to monitor the speed of motorists
“I was there the other day and the bus pulled up and people were trying to cross the road and cars were driving by,” said Cllr Donegan.
“If the gardai had a location where they could park their garda van and if the extension to the speed limit was extended, I think it would maximise safety there,” he added.
According to Paul Crowe, director of transportation, water and emergency services at Limerick County Council, the local authority, the gardai and the NRA are working closely in a bid to resolve the issue at O’Rourke’s Cross.
“The superintendent acknowledged at the meeting that we always work closely in trying to resolve issues like this.
“We have agreed that between the gardai, Limerick County Council and the NRA that we will seek to advance whatever measures are deemed appropriate there,” said Mr Crowe.