Fear for children's road safety at Portlaoise GAA club grounds

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Fear for children's road safety at Portlaoise GAA club grounds

Fear for children's road safety at Portlaoise GAA club grounds

Urgent road safety measures including a continuous white line are being considered at  Portlaoise GAA grounds, for the safety of children and passing pedestrians.

With N80 traffic to be diverted along the R425 Rathleague road during roadworks next week, there is concern that the already busy area will be more dangerous.  Read about the Stradbally road closure here.

Cllr Noel Tuohy tabled a motion to the March meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District to ask for road warning signs either side of the club entrance. 

“I get scared sometimes when there are blitzes in the evenings and I see hundreds of children from every GAA club in the county and outside it. In summer there could be 400 or 500 in the field. 

“It’s wonderful and people give their time for nothing, but we need to do what we can to make it as safe as we can. We need a sign on each side telling motorists it’s there,” he said.

Cllr Willie Aird is asking for a continuous white line to be painted immediately to prevent overtaking, ahead of the traffic roadworks diversion that takes place from March 22 to 26.

“Please before you close the road, put in a continuous white line, even for the duration of the works. People living there have seen so many near misses,” he said.

“I and Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald had motions on this before. It behoves us to ensure the safety of every person using the Rathleague road. I hope we will see progress where the path is level with the road. 

Cllr Fitzgerald agreed.

“Hopefully when things are back up and running we will see loads of children back on their bikes, but we’ve a responsibility to make it safe,” she said.

Laois County Council has already applied for funding to improve the safety of pedestrians walking from the town centre towards the GAA grounds at Rathleague. They plan to improve road markings and signage, starting work this year.

The area engineer is Wes Wilkinson.

“This is high on our priority list, to have something in the short term and the long term. I’ll look at the white line with a view to doing it as soon as possible,” he said.

The town manager is Director of Services Simon Walton.

“This road has been the subject of numerous motions and a design is under preparation including signage and road marking, footpaths and pedestrian crossings to address this. A long term solution will be to hand very shortly. We hope to implement the first phase in 2021 roadworks scheme,” he said.

Some weeks ago, a jogger feared for their life after a lorry veered onto the flat path behind them on the road, prompting calls for a proper path. Read that story here.