Surprise has been expressed at details of a road safety scheme in Newmarket.
The low cost safety scheme, on the R701 close to the Knocktopher M8 junction, aims to reduce speed on the road with new ramps, signage and lighting.
However, no changes can be made to a junction layout as the building bordering the road is a protected structure.
Area Engineer Declan Murphy said they had looked at removing part of a derelict building on the junction but they can’t because it is a protected structure. The project has ‘the next best thing’ in ramps and lighting at the junction, he explained.
Cllr Joe Lyons expressed surprise that the location could not have been made safer by demolishing the building.
Cllr Michael Doyle asked if they could get around not being able to demolish the building, as it is a health and safety issue. There is a similar issue with a building in Inistioge, he said. ‘No business can go into it’ because work is restricted by its protected status.
District Chairman, Cllr Matt Doran, said experts had been to inspect the Newmarket building and were of the opinion that it should be preserved and protected. His own opinion was that the building had ‘gone past that’.
Cllr Patrick O’Neill said that in the past heritage buildings were lost but now Ireland has gone too far in the other direction.
A traffic survey on the road through Newmarket, in advance of drawing up the works plan, showed the maximum speed of a vehicle through the 60kph zone was actually 120kph. 71% of traffic coming from the direction of the motorway junction violated the speed limit, while 41% of traffic coming from the other direction, into Newmarket, was over the 60kph speed limit.
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