Interim works to improve road safety on a dangerous stretch of the N24 Piltown bypass are to begin in the coming weeks.
The road has been a scene of heartbreak for many people in the 15 years since it opened, with dozens of traffic collisions, including a number of fatalities.
At last week’s meeting of the Piltown Municipal District, area engineer Ian Gardner told councillors that a contract has been awarded for the proposed works, which include a right-turning lane at the Thatch Junction and at Croke’s shop. Roadside laybys will be provided to facilitate Garda enforcement.
The merging lane is to be brought further back from the Tower Road junction, by about 120 metres. This, said Mr Gardner, will give drivers more time before coming into the junction.
Road markings are to be updated, and the existing bollards are to be changed. For safety, the cycle lane will be put inside the bollards, and there will be different-coloured road sections which carry through the junction.
For traffic coming from Carrick-on-Suir, the road is deliberately narrowed coming to the junction. As it is, a vehicle turning left can end up blocking the view of someone coming out of the junction; narrowing aims to eliminate this by only allowing one vehicle through at a time.
Mr Gardner stressed that these are only interim works, hopefully to be carried out over the next two months. He said the council was still pushing for funding for an overbridge to solve the problem at the junction. Cllr Pat Dunphy welcomed the scheme.
“These works will make things a little bit better, but they are interim,” he said.
“So, what is the update on the TII? Where are they – are they coming back to us?
“I would like to an update on when they are going to make a decision. People are working on this for quite some time, and they need to be kept informed.”
Mr Gardner said he would ask for an update.
Later in the same meeting, Cllr Tomas Breathnach revealed he had asked director of services Tim Butler to liaise with TII to arrange another meeting with them. Councillors met representatives from TII last year.
“Given we are in the middle of the summer, it could be September,” he said.
“In fairness to the TII, they agreed to meet us on an annual basis, and we should take it up.”
Cllr Pat Dunphy said the Piltown Municipal District has the largest mileage of roads running across it, including the N24, N25, and regional routes.
“So we’ve huge involvement with the TII and national roads,” he said.
He noted the joint submission for an upgrade of the N24, separate to the Tower Junction issue. Cllr Breathnach said it had been a coordinated submission by all the counties that would be affected by an upgrade.