One of the most dangerous junctions in the country, the Tower Road junction on the Piltown-Fiddown bypass, is due to be made safer with a fly-over, but Deputy John McGuinness says it would make even more sense to re-examine the whole road, which he called “the greatest joke and waste of money that I have seen in my lifetime in politics”.
A proposal by the National Roads Authority (NRA) and Kilkenny County Council includes “the provision of an over-bridge over the N24, an on-ramp/off-ramp from the N24 on the westbound lane, and two link roads servicing the cul-de-sac on the south side of the N24 (west of the Tower Road junction) and the Ink Bottle junction on the north side of the N24.”
A 12-month review of this section of the main Waterford to Limerick road found that the main problem was to do with vehicles coming from the busy Tower Road and turning right towards Carrick-on-Suir.
“Drivers of these vehicles are misreading the gap in traffic available to them and are being side-swiped by vehicles coming from the west,” according to the council. “It was also noted that despite the additional signage/ roadmarkings in place and junction alterations at the Ink Bottle junction, vehicles continue to make the illegal right-turn manoeuvre towards Carrick-on-Suir.”
Deputy John Paul Phelan (FG) said the proposal to alter the junction was “good news” for all who use the road. “There have been a number of accidents there, so anything that would reduce the number of accidents is to be welcomed,” he said.
However, it’s a change that was proposed by Deputy McGuinness as far back as May 2006.
“Sometimes it takes people longer to get to the point of common sense, but I think that the Piltown-Fiddown bypass is still a very poorly designed road. What really needs to happen down there, in the context of this new proposal, is that they look at all of the Piltown-Fiddown bypass including the nonsensical off-road roundabouts they have put in to make it safer,” he said of the most recent proposal for the road.
“I welcome the fact that they now see the sense in what I was talking about, even if it was five years ago, and I would like to see them look at the overall scheme; they should not be afraid to say that there is a better way to do this,” Deputy McGuinness said. “To do it without looking at the other issues along the road is a further denial of the existence of a very poorly planned road that is not suitable to local needs and is actually dangerous for road users.”
Kilkenny County Council says it has begun discussions with affected landowners to advise them of the proposals and initiate land-acquisition proceedings. “It should be noted that the successful delivery of this scheme will be dependent on obtaining the required lands by agreement,” the council said.