Motorway safety not NRA’s concern

NO new safety measures to warn mortorists of fog have been approved for the motorways of the county, despite a recent meeting to discuss the issue in the wake of a serious crash in fog on the M7 outside Portlaoise.

NO new safety measures to warn mortorists of fog have been approved for the motorways of the county, despite a recent meeting to discuss the issue in the wake of a serious crash in fog on the M7 outside Portlaoise.

The two-truck collision between junctions 16 and 17 brought traffic to a standstill on the morning of March 3, when a juggernaut parked in dense fog was struck by another on the hard shoulder. One of the truck drivers was taken to hospital, although his injuries were not life threatening, and gardaí had to deal with up to 15 ancillary crashes following the incident.

Following a incident a meeting was held between Gardaí, Laois County Council and the National Roads Authority (NRA) in county hall, Portlaoise. It was called to discuss the implications of the accident and to determine what safety measures should be introduced, Superintendant Philip Lyons said that investigations into the crash are still ongoing.

“It was a very productive meeting, the NRA has undertaken to examine the incident with a view to improving engineering works,” said Supt Lyons who added that there would be further contact between the agencies but as of yet nothing has been finalised.

However, when contacted by the Leinster Express, NRA head of communications Sean O’Neill said that it was not his department’s responsibility to implement safety measures.

“The NRA don’t have any legislative authority. We’re a funding body. If we receive a proposal from a local council concerning road saftey management we act as consultants. It’s up to local authorities,” Mr O’Neill told the Leinster Express.

In 2007 it was reported warning systmens would be tested for foggy conditions following mayhem on the motorway near Newbridge in which a young woman died. At a hearing the NRA was reported it planned to put in place variable message systems on the M1 motorway on a pilot basis.