Ardfinnan Bridge - lives put at risk every day

Village life disrupted by council bridge works

Eamon Lacey

Reporter:

Eamon Lacey

Ardfinnan Bridge

Ardfinnan bridge under works

A defiant South Tipperary community has hit out at the brutal dismantling of idylic rural village life by the imposition of traffic lights and a one way traffic system.

The people of Ardfinnan this week said the “temporary” traffic lights and one way system introduced by Tipperary County Council over two years ago on the bridge over the river Suir in the village was having a massive disruptive influence on life in the village.

Ardfinnan Bridge

Above: Celine Ryan and Maireád Condon

Concerns are mounting among angry residents and in particular staff and parents of children of Ardfinnan National School that lives are being put at risk every day by the one way system and lights.

School Principal Mairead Condon and parents have said the one way system was causing “mayhem” outside the school. Drop off and collection times, with the lights causing lengthy traffic build ups and forcing motorists to race to beat the lights, ensured gaining access to the school was a perilous task.

The frustrated community now fear that Tipperary County Council want the one way system to become a permanent fixture after two years have passed without any significant work being carried out on the bridge since it was damaged by flooding in January 2015 despite the allocation of €800,000 for the works.

They fear that the County Council, because of the prohibitive costs involved, are not prepared to pursue their proposals for a stand alone bridge or canteliever style type bridge for pedestrians which would allow the bridge over the Suir to return to a two way system.

Business man Jimmy Brett,whose grain business is located between the lights, said the system was putting their business in jeopardy. He was mystified at the stance of a public body over such a vital piece of infrastructure over the Suir and he said the system was a threat to rural life.

Ardfinnan Bridge

Above: Deputy Mattie McGrath, Aidan McNamara, Tomas O'Mahoney, Cllr Martin Lonergan.

Deputy Mattie McGrath has blamed the County Council of acting in an appalling fashion and having no regard for the people of Ardfinnan who were opposed to the one way system.

Marcus O Connor, Director of Services of Tipperary County Council said they were not happy to repair the bridge and walk away.

“We are being told lights cannot work in Ardfinnan but they work everywhere else in County Tipperary, Ireland and all over the world” he said.

The council official said one way systems with traffic lights had been introduced on bridges in the county at Sir Thomas's Bridge outside Clonmel and at Ballina/ Killaloe with no opposition.

“There are a lot of experts out in Ardfinnan. How come the one way system and traffic lights work very well at other locations. This is the most reasonable and safest solution” insisted the council official.

For a comprehensive report on this situation see The Nationalist, on sale on Wednesday, June 14.