06 Jul 2022

'Accident waiting to happen' Laois schoolchildren in traffic danger

'Accident waiting to happen' Laois schoolchildren in traffic danger

Scoil Bhride NS in Portlaoise

Schoolchildren at one of the biggest primary schools in Laois are facing traffic danger, according to a Portlaoise councillor.

Scoil Bhride NS in Knockmay Portlaoise has over 800 pupils, many of whom walk across an increasingly busy road in the built up residential area.

Harpurs Lane runs between the Mountmellick N80 and Portlaoise link road, serving multiple housing estates and Portlaoise College. Two large nursing homes and new apartments are also undergoing construction on it.

The entire road is undergoing a Road Safety Impact Assessment, but it is too slow says Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley.

She had expected to hear its recommendations at the June meeting of Portlaoise Municipal District, tabling a motion to it requesting the update.

She was disappointed to hear that while the draft report is written, it is not finalised or confirmed by Laois County Council, nor is the money sourced to get road safety changes designed and built.

"I put this motion down three or four months ago. I thought the findings of the road safety audit would be before us today, our last meeting before the summer. Now it will be next September and kids will be back in Scoil Bhride Knockmay. I thought we would be dealing with the nuts and bolts today," Cllr Dwane Stanley said.

She warns that there will be an accident.

"The dangerous situation in the area has had a huge impact on Hillview Drive, Parnell Crescent, Oakleaf Place and Clonrooske View. Over 800 attend the school. Cars are parked everywhere. It is an accident waiting to happen. 

"I hope that the audit might include measures around the uncontrolled pedestrian crossing. I've paid for speed ramps and I acknowledge that Treo Nua family resource centre is working with the residents, credit to the residents of Knockmay on this.  In the meantime please send us the report," Cllr Dwane Stanley said.

Her motion was seconded by Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald.

"This is one of the biggest primary schools in the county. I hope it can be done as soon as possible," she said.

Council engineer Seamus Quinn outlined what the report examined.

"The assessment examined 500m of Harpurs Lane from the roundabout including its junctions with Scoil Bhride, Hillview Drive, Parnell Crescent, Oakleaf Place and Clonrooske View. The draft recommendations are under consideration by the council. Broadly, they include a range of road safety interventions. Once the report is finalised, the council will confirm recommendations and endeavour to identify funding opportunites to progress the project," he said.

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