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More lay-bys needed to stop traffic congestion on N68

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*Cllr Ian Lynch. Photograph: John Mangan

Additional lay-by areas on the main route connecting West Clare and Ennis to prevent traffic congesting behind slow moving vehicles have been sought.

A review by Clare County Council in conjunction with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) “to ensure existing lay-by areas are safe for traffic” and to identify further suitable lay-bys “to enable slow moving vehicles, HGVs and agricultural machinery pull off the main carriage way to allow the build-up of traffic slowly” was requested by Cllr Ian Lynch (IND).

Preparation of a Transport Strategy for Co Clare by the County Council and the National Transport Authority is due to commence in the third quarter of 2020, senior executive engineer John Gannon advised. The review can be included once the strategy is completed, he said. “If there are immediate areas of concern regarding existing lay-bys these can be addressed”.

Several properties along the N68 have put bollards out in front of their house to prevent cars from pulling in, Cllr Lynch told a recent meeting of the West Clare Municipal District. “One that really concerns me is the ones putting out stones, drivers sometimes don’t see it and it causes a lot of damage to cars. I fully understand that they are trying to protect their property but I am concerned that it is one of the few areas where HGVs or agricultural machinery could pull in”.

Farmers travelling to and from the Mart in Ennis have raised the matter with the Kilrush councillor. “The whole way from Knockerra Cross to Darragh Cross is a whole concern. We need to make sure the road is fit for purpose, it is the only road from West Clare to Ennis to get to the Mart. The change in speed from TII was said to make the road safer, it has made it worse”.

Support for the motion was voiced by Cllr Gabriel Keating (FG) and Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG). “We asked for a report on the speed limit, I don’t know where it got blocked up, I don’t understand how we haven’t received that piece of paper,” Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) stated. “There are a number of areas where it is impossible to pass agricultural machines, jeeps or boxes,” Cllr Joe Killeen (FF) commented.

Acting senior executive officer, John O’Malley informed the meeting that a review of the speed limit takes place every five years and he committed to bringing the matter further.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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