Limerick councillors call for widening of Father Russell Road junctions

Green Party councillor Seán Hartigan said: "I don't believe it is councillors who should be designing these schemes."

SOCIAL Democrats councillor Elisa O’Donovan has called on the local authority to widen the junctions along the Father Russell Road Active Travel scheme.

Speaking at the last Metropolitan District meeting, Cllr O’Donovan said that when works are completed, she believes they will be transformative for the area. However, she claimed there has been some teething issues along the route.

Out of respect for the people who use and live on this route, these issues, she told council members, should be discussed in an open forum.

“Two weeks ago I met some of the local residents. I absolutely believe in junction tightening for slowing down cars. We have seen it work to very good effect in the city centre around the Crescent and around Mallow Street,” Cllr O’Donovan said.

“However, what we have seen on the Father Russell Road is a complete narrowing of the junctions at key estates that only allows for exit and entrance of one car at a time.

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“What we are seeing is cars having to wait and then go through the median line through the middle. There isn’t actually space for two cars to pass.”

Fine Gael councillor Dan McSweeney supported Cllr O’Donovan’s motion. He felt it was evident there was an issue and called for the council to deal with it now and not when the works are complete.

Cllr Daniel Butler (FG) claimed there has been absolute chaos in the area.

“There has been a number of near misses and some actual accidents have happened. Pedestrians are being put in danger. Cyclists are being put in danger. Residents can’t get in and out of their estates. Any large vehicles coming in haven’t a hope of getting in because the junctions are so tight,” he said.

Green Party councillor Seán Hartigan took a different view. He was of the opinion that the width will be well in excess of design limits when the works are completed.

“I am surprised to see Cllr O’Donovan coming in on this. I am not surprised to see Daniel Butler and Daniel McSweeney — they’ve tried to scupper any Active Travel scheme on their side of the city over the last couple of months and they seem to think they’ve got more engineering skills than the engineers.

“This is something that is designed by engineers and I am sure they have designed it properly. I don’t believe it is councillors who should be designing these schemes.”