Even though it’s been described as an accident waiting to happen, Laois County Council have said the roundabout at Rock View on the Mountrath Road in Portlaoise is not a priority for upgrading.
At County Hall last week, in response to a request from Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald for a new roundabout to be installed, the council’s road design department informed her that the four new roundabouts on the Dublin Road and Stradbally Road have been prioritised for school traffic and safety.
The department claimed that the roundabout at Rock View is “reasonably working for the flow of traffic” and said that any improvement works will not be considered until after the Dublin Road and Stradbally Road.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Cllr Fitzgerald, “the biggest primary school in the county is on that route. This isn’t being addressed seriously enough, this is a huge safety issue, it should have been addressed when the estate was done.
“The whole junction is dysfunctional, is there any hope it will be addressed?” she asked.
“I agree it’s not good enough, but these other roundabouts are prioritised first,” said council engineer, Mr Tom O’Carroll.
Cllr Jerry Lodge pointed out that it was not a condition of the planning process that a roundabout be included at that location.
“It should have been,” he declared.
Cllr Willie Aird pointed out that there were 118 first year pupils to attend Portlaoise College, which is located right next to the junction.
“And the junction is just left unattended until it’s seen as a priority by Laois County Council,” he said, adding that the junction was never completed.
“It’s a very dangerous roundabout,” agreed Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley, “it should be prioritised along with the other roundabouts, it shouldn’t be left, it’s an accident waiting to happen.”