The M7 motorway was closed on February 20 following a three car collision near the Tipperary Road turn-off Picture: Press 22
TRANSPORT Infrastructure Ireland (TII) cited a “high incidence of hail showers” as the reason for a number of collisions on the Limerick to Roscrea section of the M7 Motorway.
Deputy Niall Collins, who tabled a Dail question on the matter, said the “TII response was akin to the dog ate my homework” excuse.
Deputy Collins originally asked Minister for Transport Shane Ross for the number of accidents on that stretch of the M7 over the past four years; the cause of each accident; the actions being taken by TII to avert further reoccurrence and if he would make a statement. Minister Ross referred the question to TII for direct reply.
The Fianna Fail TD said he raised the matter due to constituents expressing concerns about the number of accidents on it.
“There have been a number of tragic fatalities and collisions. There were accidents three mornings in a row in February. Motorways should be the safest of all roads but for some reason this isn’t. People are wondering why is this particular stretch having so many accidents,” said Deputy Collins.
“There is an issue with aquaplaning. I am not an engineer – this is an observation – but there are parts of that road where the water just sits on it. It doesn’t move. All Limerick people when travelling to Dublin use that road. It is a significant issue of public concern for me and people have raised it with me,” he continued.
The TII response said a number of collisions have occurred between Roscrea and Birdhill in recent months during periods of hail showers.
“The skid resistance on the road surface is not a factor in these collisions. The M7 in County Tipperary appears to have a high incidence of hail showers which, due to their sudden and localised nature, cannot be mitigated against through advance treatment by salt spreading. TII is currently engaged with Met Eireann who are studying our records of the collisions due to hailstones and are comparing the data with their records of the prevailing meteorological conditions.
“The objective is to identify a means of providing prior alerts to road users of hail events, within the limitations of accuracy of regionalised weather forecasts. TII is also actively addressing the matter in consultation with An Garda Siochana and the Road Safety Authority,” reads part of the reply.
Deputy Collins said simply blaming weather events “isn’t good enough. They are just blaming it on random weather events on a particular stretch of the road and this gives me huge cause for concern. I think they need to go back and look at the fundamental design of the road in that section.
The response is akin to the ‘dog ate my homework’,” he added.