CHAOS and mayhem will descend on Portlaoise when the new primary schools open, unless funding is found to complete the orbital route around the town and alleviate traffic congestion.
So said Portlaoise town councillors at last week’s meeting in County Hall.
Mayor, Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald proposed arranging a meeting with the NRA and Department of Transport to request funding for the orbital route before the new primary schools open.
“I can see nothing but chaos, unless the orbital route is open,” she said.
“Thousands of children will all be going in the one direction... you’re going to have one third of the town going across that road.
“Does the Department (of Transport) know how bad the situation is going to be?” she asked.
Cllr Fitzgerald said that the councillors would be the ones who will be getting all the blame for the problem, even though it was nothing to do with them.
“Not one penny did we get for that road, I can’t see how this will be solved,” she said.
Cllr Matthew Keegan said completion of the orbital route was absolutely imperative, as traffic congestion will cause mayhem.
“This isn’t a luxury, this is an imperative,” he said.
Cllr Willie Aird said he hoped the council had planned for what was about to take place, as school children will no longer be able to walk to such outdoor amenities as playing fields and the leisure centre.
“All that’s finished with, they’ll have to be bussed and that’s a huge cost for the schools,” he said.
Cllr Aird informed the meeting that the NRA itself had objected to the site for the schools, as the present roundabouts in the area were not capable of handling the current traffic levels.
“I’m asking Laois County Council to explain how they gave planning permission,” he said.
In a reply from the roads department, it was said that the department has for several years been in frequent discussion with the NRA and the Department of Transport regarding the delivery of the final section of the southern circular route.
The town council’s request for a meeting will be raised with the Department of Transport.