*Cllr Mary Howard. Photograph: Eamon Ward
Predicted “huge traffic” along the Lahinch Rd this summer has reignited the bid to introduce traffic calming measures at the Shanaway Rd junction.
An update on proposed traffic controls at the junction were sought by Cllr Mary Howard (FG) at this month’s meeting of the Ennis Municipal District.
Senior executive engineer, John Gannon confirmed that the road design office has engaged with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) on a regular basis regarding the junction. Design options have been submitted with the most recent engagement seeing the TII reject the proposal and seek greater consideration for Active Travel measures.
Residents who had been “incredibly patient and understanding” are now “at their wits end,” Cllr Howard outlined. She believed the road which has “a couple of thousand people” living on it was unsafe. “Even with the Banner GAA Club, Woodstock Golf Club and Hotel Woodstock closed, the traffic is still very heavy on that road. Once restrictions are eased, there will be huge traffic on the Lahinch Rd towards the coast”.
Traffic lights was the favoured option of Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG). “This issue has been going on for last two decades” while significant developments with housing estates have occurred in the area, he believed. The bypass has “exasperated” the use of the route with traffic lights deemed in his view the “only solution to give a fair chance to people exiting and entering the N85”. He also felt the Lahinch Rd would be very busy and urged the Council to move quickly.
Questions are continuously raised on the matter by residents who have found the situation very difficult, Cllr Ann Norton (IND) acknowledged. “It is proving to be a real challenge,” Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) noted. Urgency is needed in the approach, Cllr Mark Nestor (FF) stressed as he reiterated that residents had been voicing their concerns for two decades.
Ten times the amount of houses are on the Shanaway Rd compared with twenty years ago, Cllr Pat Daly (FF) stated. He also felt traffic lights would be the best option and said consultation with the Hogan family who run “a vibrant business” by the junction is important. TII involvement seems to see projects go “around in circles,” Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) surmised.
“This is going on for too long, it is ridiculous. It is an accident waiting to happen,” Cllr Howard added. She requested a timelines for the starting and completion of necessary works.
Eamon O’Dea, senior executive engineer told the meeting a different approach will have to be used in an attempt to activate the funding. “It also comes down to where national funding goes, that is cyclical with whichever Government is in charge”.