23 May 2022

Major Laois road over a bog 'deficient in every way' - council Chief

Major Laois road over a bog 'deficient in every way' - council Chief

The busy N80 from Portlaoise to Mountmellick that goes over a soft bog is ‘very deficient’, the council chief has said, speaking after a truck crash last week.

“We can count ourselves lucky that nobody was hurt or killed. It was such a traumatic incident for I’m sure the driver and all those involved,” John Mulholland said on Monday at the Joint Policing Committee meeting.

“It was really miraculous that nobody was hurt.

“It’s not a matter for Laois County Council because it’s a national secondary route, it does not appear anywhere in the programme for the national development plan. The emphasis in the programme for Government is investment in the railway system and public transport."

Other than four national routes around Ireland he said “you’d be very hard stretched to find where there’s any inkling of a plan to carry out road improvements”.

“It is a very suspect piece of national infrastructure. We did carry out an assessment of route options which are now in the county development plan. But by the time we move from that to funding, there’s a long journey to be done.

“At least with our own team and the TII, there should be considerations for safety measures, as regards speed, the irregularity of the surface because as we all know the surface distorts from year to year with the swelling of the bog and drying out in summer, and the absence of hard verges.

“That was the critical thing with that truck driver, that he didn’t have room to make any kind of emergency movement. For a national secondary route, it’s very deficient in every respect," the Laois County Council CEO said.

Minister of State for Finance Sean Fleming TD was at the JPC meeting.

“The Mountmellick bypass is on the agenda for a long time linking to the orbital route around Portlaoise. It has not been on a list of priorities but we will take opportunities to see if it can be. We will take the message back loud and clear,” he said.

The Mountmellick community JPC representative Bobby Delaney had raised the issue and made a passionate plea for works.

“I cannot understand for the life of me why there hasn’t been a move to widen that road, to allow bicycles or possibly agricultural machinery on it, there's plenty of room”.

"This time last week, a lorry turned over. I travel that road for the last 50 years four times a day and I have seen no real major changes since 1968 from Derrycloney to Kyletalesha landfill.  The same basic road, the width is the same, we have a bog each side of it. 

“Our town has been hampered for years with traffic going through it and we’re looking for a bypass. But at the meeting in November the CEO told me it won’t happen overnight, but a few years down the line.

“When I heard the news last Monday, the first thing I asked was how many was killed, because that road has a high volume of traffic. I very seldom have a chance of ever overtaking anyone on it," Mr Delaney, a former Town Councillor said.

Read about that accident which left the truck blocking the whole road below.

WATCH: Phenomenal women marry poetry and sport in Mountmellick

The women of Mountmellick soccer are honoured to take part in Poetry Town with their specially-commissioned poem, Phenomenal Woman which highlights the importance of women’s participation in sport, and the mental health benefits that transpire as a result.  All team members across the age cohorts were involved in writing this inspiring piece, and having their voices heard.

The vision of Sport Ireland is one where equal opportunities are achievable for women in sport, a place where their full potential is attainable.

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