The National Roads Authority holds the key to whether or not new schools will open on time in Portlaoise next year.
Roundabouts are t-op of the list for Laois County Council’s 2013 road plans to cope with schooltime traffic when the six primary schools open in the one area, catering for more than 2,200 schoolchildren.
Traffic impact assessment reports carried out ahead of the development of the schools at Summerhill highlighted the need for upgrades as certain junctions are already at capacity.
The roundabouts will be at the Summerhill / Stradbally road junction, and the Block road / Dublin road junction beside Portlaoise hospital.
Laois County Council have requested funding from the National Roads Authority, stressing the urgency of their request.
“We have raised the issue of the upgrade of junctions on the N80 with the NRA and it is of highest priority to advance these upgrades in 2013,” said County manager Peter Carey in his budget report.
Work is underway on the three schools moving to Summerhill. Gaelscoil Phort Laois, Educate Together and Maryborough NS are on target to move into their new schools this coming September.
Permission was recently granted to Portlaoise Parish to build their schools across the road at Aghnaharna.
All the schools will exit on to the new Southern Circular Road, which links the Stradbally road with the Timahoe road.
Council Engineer John O’Donohue said the Summerhill roundabout is approved by the council for construction, and is a top priority.
“We are also hoping for the roundabout at the Block road, and obviously to finish the Borris road.
“Those are our priorities for Portlaoise, and they will be done this year if at all possible,” he said.
The Borris Road serves school traffic to the Scoil Chriost Rí and CBS secondary schools, as well as many housing estates.
The schools were opened in 2010. Straightening and widening of the road is still being completed section by section, as more money becomes available to the council.