Tailbacks caused by controversial traffic lights in Portarlington, Laois are causing "life threatening" delays says a local fire officer.
The time taken to get through the town has tripled for the fire service it is claimed, since the traffic lights were installed at the junction from the main street to Crowe Lane. The junction gets an average of over 14,000 vehicles passing through daily, including almost 5,000 trucks.
"Our callout time was five minutes, now it's taking 15 minutes. That's a life threatening delay," Station Officer Tony Whelan said at a public meeting in the town on Wednesday night November 13.
Laois County Fire & Rescue Service has responded to say that there is no significant delay.
The public meeting about local developments in the community centre was dominated by the topic of the traffic lights. People reported long delays, and concerns that shoppers are avoiding the town.
Many agreed however that some safety solution is necessary to help pedestrians cross, and traffic to turn. Multiple suggestions were made, such as a roundabout, more carparks, and a ring road.
A delegation of four people was selected to seek a meeting with Laois County Council to ask for a rethink.
PJ Hyland will present a petition he has gathered, of 1,244 names against the lights, accompanied by Ciaran Fallon, taxi driver Canice McCarthy, and delivery driver Denise Furlong.
Cllr Aidan Mullins who had long requested the council to install suitable safety measures at the junction, said at the meeting that the council is "adamant the lights will stay", but that "sequencing is key" to sorting out traffic problems.
Cllr Tom Mulhall said he is "against the lights" and suggested that residents also send a letter to the council.
Below: the traffic lights in Portarlington.