THERE will be “mayhem” at one of County Limerick’s busiest junctions according to a local councillor who say that unless a new plan is devised for the “treacherous” cross, a serious accident will occur.
Councillor Mike Donegan has described as “frightening” the speeds at which motorists travel through O’Rourke’s Cross on the main N20 Limerick to Cork road.
The potential for a fatal accident he says 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 who “whizz by”.
“We are talking about people’s lives here at this junction. There is going to be an accident, there is going to be mayhem there,” said the Kilmallock-based councillor who pointed out that “everybody agrees that it’s frightening but there is nobody doing anything about it.”
Cllr Donegan has proposed that a special area meeting be convened in relation to the matter to be attended by the local garda superintendent, the NRA, Limerick County Council and Bus Eireann.
“I travel that junction most days and it’s frightening to see the speeds at which people travel though that junction. But yet when they come to Banogue they slow down because they know that the gardai or speed vans are often there,” continued Cllr Donegan who raised the issue at a Kilmallock local area meeting.
Cllr Donegan called for an authorised bus stop to be put in place at the junction as he said the current situation was “unfair” to the people of Limerick and the families that the gardai would have to call to if there is a fatal accident there.
The manner in which buses pull up at the junction at present, he said, is leading to sightlines being obscured for motorists travelling from both the Bruree road and the Newcastle West road.
Kilmallock-based Cllr Mike Houlihan agreed that the absence of a bus stop is one the most serious problems at the junction.
“As time tables have been cut, more people seem to be getting on the bus there and it is taking more time to load it or unload it,” he pointed out adding that during the bad weather especially in the winter time, it is a “serious hazard”.
Kifinane-based Cllr David Moloney explained that he travels through the “treacherous” cross either every day or every second day when going to training in Limerick or Rathkeale and said he found it “baffling” that the gardai are in a situation that they are unable to monitor the speed limit.
“Are we going to see an accident before something is done,” asked Cllr Moloney, a Limerick senior hurler.
Maura Murray from the roads department of Limerick County Council told the meeting that there was a proposal to extend the speed limit on either side of the junction at O’Rourke’s Cross.
The meeting heard that a 60km speed limit was introduced at the cross last year and since then there have been a number of representations to extend the speed limit including communications from An Garda Siochana.
The meeting heard that Limerick County Council have written formally to the NRA about the proposed extension and are optimistic they will have a response shortly.
Also speaking at the meeting, Cllr Bill O’Donnell said the junction was at the heart of the community in the middle of the parish.
In relation to buses stopping at the junction, Cllr O’Donnell said that obtaining an area for a bus stop through a CPO “might be the solution.
The Bruff-based councillor pointed out that there is “a success story up the road in terms of Banogue” and there is no reason why there shouldn’t be a success story “down the road in terms of O’Rourke’s Cross”.