Pedestrian crossing facilities are to be installed at a busy crossing point on the Clonmel Inner Relief Road where a 15 year-old girl was knocked down and injured by a car last winter.
The road safety measures, costing an estimated €50,000, will be put in place by the County Council at the section of the Inner Relief Road where it meets the Heywood Road in August.
Senior Executive Engineer Michael Graham said the pedestrian crossing facility will comprise the construction of a central refuge on the road for pedstrians and the narrowing of the width of the road carriageway by widening the kerb lines. Another two central islands will be constructed on the road to slow down traffic as it passes the Heywood Road junction. The National Roads Authority designed the pedestrian crossing facility and it passed a safety appraisal.
“We are very happy that it will be the correct solution for the pedestrian management of this area of the Heywood Road,” he said.
Work on installing the pedestrian crossing facilities will start after the August Bank Holiday Weekend.
The project has been welcomed by Fianna Fail Cllr Siobhan Ambrose, who has campaigned for road safety measures on the Clonmel Relief Road where it meets the Heywood Road, Cashel and Fethard Roads, which are all major residental areas.
“It’s a very dangerous junction. It’s a main road and there are a lot of houses in this area. I am delighted that funding has been given for this scheme,” she said.
She is currently campaigning for funding to be secured next year for a pedestrian crossing facility at the Cashel Road Roundabout.
However, Ned Spillane from Highfield Grove, whose daughter Jennifer was knocked down as she crossed the Inner Relief Road to get to the Heywood Road last November, said he will wait and see how the measures work in practice before deciding whether they should be welcomed. He has counted at least 30 accidents at this crossing point.
“I hope the works are going to be good otherwise, I am not going to be happy. The traffic on that road needs to be slowed down and people need to be able to cross the road safely. It has to be safe for all the kids and people who cross there. Our family is lucky that our daughter is grand. It could have been so easily the other way around,” he said.
Mr. Spillane pointed out that as well as the pedestrian crossing measures, the Gardai need to enforce the speed limit on that stretch of road as vehicles are travelling far too fast on the road.
He paid tribute to the now retired Garda Tom Phelan, who patrolled that stretch of the Inner Relief Road two to three times a week to ensure cars travelled at the correct speed when he was in the force.
Mr. Spillane also hopes that more public lighting will be installed along the pedestrian crossing facility for motorists and pedestrians to see each other adequately. He described the lighting in the area as “atrocious” at the moment.
He said he had been campaigning for 10 years for a roundabout and road safety measures for people crossing the Inner Relief Road to get to the Heywood Road to bring their children to and from St. Oliver’s School, to go to church and go to and from town. He felt very bitter that it had taken so long to get these measures.