KILKENNY is on its way to reducing the number of fatal and serious road accidents by 25%, according to a mid-term review of the Kilkenny Road Safety Plan 2007-2012.
The 25% reduction is a main aim of the plan, in addition to improved safety for cyclists and pedestrians, and the identification of “accident cluster sites” so they can be made safer.
According to figures presented to Kilkenny County Council members on Monday, there were 85 road accidents involving fatalities and serious injuries from 2001 to 2003; there were 71 such accidents from 2004 to 2006; and there were 60 from 2007 to 2009.
In the six years before the Road Safety Plan, there were an average of 26 per annum, so a 25% reduction in the annual average would see the number drop to 20. At the half-way stage of the plan there werea total of 60 such accidents over three years.
“Obviously our target is zero, but if you accept that there will be accidents ... we are on line with the target that was set out in the plan,” said senior council engineer Simon Walton.
The reduction is attributed in part to the opening of the M8 and M9 motorways, as “motorways are seven to nine times safer than unimproved single carriageways”, and a significant percentage of the accidents occur on regional roads.
Kilkenny County Council also spent e950,000 on low-cost safety improvement schemes on national, regional and local roads from 2007 to 2009, and safety improvements were also put in place at all of the county’s schools as part of a three-year investment programme.
However, Cllr Mary Hilda Cavanagh (FG) pointed out that there is still a safety risk in Johnstown as vehicles exit the M8 motorway and travel through the village to avoid paying the toll.