VIDEO:

Heavy queues of traffic hit Portlaoise this morning, with one local parent of small children taking an hour to get to school

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie


Queues were the order of the day this morning Friday September 1 in Portlaoise, between early Electric Picnic arrivals to the town, bringing extra traffic and trade to businesses and shops, and the return to school of thousands of children.

On the road to the new Holy Family Campus on the Southern Circular Route, hundreds of cars were moving slowly, with many people walking with their children.

Three parish primary schools that were spread across the town centre are now centered on one new campus there, totalling 1,400 children. Three existing schools are already on the busy road, bringing a total of 2,200 Portlaoise children now converging at the one site for the foreseeable future.

One young mother who lives about 2 miles away on the Borris road, had left her home at 8.10am and was still waiting in traffic at 9am.

"I left the Borris road at ten past 8. Electric Picnic might be somewhat to blame, but I've got babies in the back of the car and they're crying," she told the Leinster Express.

One frustrated driver did a u-turn just inside the school entrance, while others are refusing to yield to traffic on the school entrance roundabout, and are parking in nearby housing estates.

Portlaoise Cllr Willie Aird was standing outside the school to see for himself the traffic problems.

"We've got to address this problem and see what we can do to divert traffic from different areas of the town and get in here. they tell me the buses will be back on Monday and that will take a lot of the cars off the road," he said.

He suggests 'banging heads together' and buying a piece of land beside the school for a carpark.

Laois County Council's Road Safety Officer Yvonne O'Reilly was on site at the school to oversee the traffic.

"There is a drastic improvement in the amount of traffic this morning. There is also a dramatic increase in the number of people walking. It is going to take a bit of time, trial and error but I'm sure we can make it," Ms O'Reilly told the Leinster Express.

She urges parents to be aware of child safety.

"We understand that people have to get to school and get to work, but at the end of the day it's all about road safety for the kids, and for everybody else on the road at the time," she said.