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26/07/2021

Action not meetings demanded on Laois road where thousands of drivers speed every day

Portarlington councillor 'amazed' to be invited to another meeting

laois offaly portarlington esb

Lea Road Portarlington near the Lough Gate estate

No more meetings are needed to slow traffic one of the busiest roads in Laois where statistical evidence already exists that speed limits are being ignored by thousands of drivers every day.

So asserted Cllr Aidan Mullins as he called for action and not meetings with Laois County Council engineers over speeding at the Lea Road and Ballymorris roundabout in Portarlington.

The councillor was left frustrated by an invitation from Mr. Farhan Nasiem, A Senior Executive Engineer in the council’s road section to a meeting he tabled at a recent meeting that Laois County Council give an update on traffic calming measures.

In his written reply, Mr Naseim said the purpose of the meeting would be to examine exact issues at this location.

However, Cllr Mullins said he was amazed by this as he had met engineers at both locations.

“The officials are well aware of the issue here,” he said at the Portarlington Graiguecullen Municipal District meeting.

Cllr Mullins said the evidence exists to justify action on the road used by many people who travel between Port and Kildare each day.

“A speed limit review carried out in November 2019 showed the number of speed violations from November 15 to 19. The number of speed violations was 3281 vehicles or 20% of the traffic. Over the period 17,000 vehicles were travelling from Portarlington to Monasterevin. An average of 4,300 a day. 

“So for somebody to send a now to meet me at the god damn location. I don't understand this,” he said.

Cllr Mullins said in the previous meetings officials involved discussions over the need for layout changes at the roundabout and other ideas.

Area Engineer Philip McVeigh told Cllr Mullins that more information may be available than the response may suggest and that he has met with the council’s road design section on the Lea Road problem at Lough Gate.

Cllr Mullins said he hoped more was happening and that he had learned of traffic island being planed. He said a further meeting is not necessary.

“I don't need to meet anybody...the information is there from traffic surveys. There are about 20% of vehicles with speed violations, we have the average speeds with the top speed. We have everything we need. We have the proof, we have the evidence,” he insisted.

He added that the next step should be decisions about getting traffic calming and sourcing funding.

Cllr PJ Kelly said business on the Lea Road want the moved 80km speed limit further out towards Monasterevin. He also suggested that lowering the speed limit to take into account future land rezoning may be a factor in blocking traffic calming.

Cllr Mullins said a lower speed limit would not be an adequate way to slow drivers on a road that includes housing and an expanding community of businesses.

“It just needs immediate attention,” concluded the Sinn Féin councillor.

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