8km tailback reported as Level 3 Covid-19 checkpoints mounted N7

Commercial trucks and vans given separate lanes

Senan Hogan

Reporter:

Senan Hogan

Level 3 checkpoints causing delays on N7 as HGV drivers given separate lane

Photo: An Garda Síochána

AA Roadwatch has reported an 8km tailback one of Ireland's busiest roads which is also used by many Laois commuters as Gardaí began to police the Covid-19 Level 3 restrictions.

Thousands of gardaí were on duty hundreds of checkpoints including on the N7 through Kildare as part of Operation Fanacht, which was set up to police the new rules introduced as an alternative to lockdown.

Checkpoints have been up on all main routes to encourage people to remain in their own counties and to only make essential journeys. People are not permitted to leave the county they live in unless they are going to work and school/college and are entitled to travel.

Gardaí said: "On the N7 Junction 5 Outbound, Gardaí are asking drivers of any Heavy Goods Vehicles approaching the checkpoint to use lane 3 if possible and safe to do so in order to facilitate the movement of commercial traffic through the checkpoint."

However, it has had a downside for drivers as the AA Roadwatch reported.

"There's now a queue of about 8km on the N7 westbound from J2 Kingswood to J5 Athgoe. It’s slow too heading away from the N7 on Garter Lane and joining the route at J4 on Mill Rd," said the AA website.

Gardaí have set up 132 checkpoints across the country and they will remain for the duration of the policing operation, which also includes high visibility and mobile patrols.

The travel restriction will run parallel with Level 3 which applies from October 6 until at least October 27.

Public transport will continue running for essential journeys and with reduced capacity. People on trains and buses must wear a face covering, and pay with a contactless card if possible.

Read also: LEVEL 3 EXPLAINER