€500,000 has been secured by Laois County Council to complete the Rockview Estate in Portlaoise, but there is no funding to improve the “substandard” roundabout at the estate’s entrance on the Mountrath Road.
At a town council meeting last week, Ms Angela McEvoy of the county council’s planning department revealed that “a fairly comprehensive schedule of works” is lined up, including the realignment of a section of the road, renovation of the green area, public lighting, drainage, traffic management and telecommunication works. The cost of the works will be covered by a bond called in by the council, and through the purchase of a number of houses in the area.
Welcoming the news, Cllr Jerry Lodge pointed out that the delays were not due to Laois County Council, but to the receiver of the estate, KPMG, who had only recently furnished the council with the necessary paperwork to take the estate in charge.
“Securing half a million is quite a feat,” he said.
Cllr Caroline Dwane said that around 20 lights had been out in the estate, but these had been turned on since the last council meeting and she thanked the county council. She said that more work is still needed.
“The manholes are in an awful state, the concrete has disappeared around them,” she said, adding that: “It’s like a building site up there.”
Cllr Claire Spollen said that she has friends in Rockview and at one point she found it very dangerous to even walk up the estate.
In response to a separate motion proposed by Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald, the council heard that there is no funding to put a proper roundabout in place at the estate’s entrance.
“I’m very disappointed, it’s a safety issue, the road is broken up in places,” said Cllr Fitzgerald. “There’s no safety there at all, I’m pleading to have some measures put in place.”
“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” agreed Cllr Spollen. “I hate coming in and out of that estate.”
“The markings have gone off the road, it’s highly dangerous,” said Cllr Kathleen O’Brien.
“Would that road pass a safety standard?” wondered Cllr Willie Aird. “That wouldn’t pass anything.”
“I agree it’s absolutely substandard,” said engineer, Mr Tom O’Carroll. “Roundabouts aren’t considered very safe anyway, a small roundabout is not going to work there. I think a traffic signal junction would be better.”