Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thompson's Cross work to be finished by weekend

There are again traffic delays at Thompson’s Cross because of ongoing road works there, writes Brian Byrne, but the contractor expects to be ‘off the road’ by tomorrow evening, in time for the long weekend traffic.

The works are making the approach roads to the cross narrower, with a view to slowing down traffic in the area, which has had local people campaigning for safety improvements since the road realignment some years ago.

A roundabout is the agreed best solution, but local representatives have been told there’s no money for that at this time, and the funding for the current works comes from an allocation for ‘low cost safety schemes’.

While the narrower roads may slow traffic — which is especially too fast coming from the Athy Road, in the view of the relevant engineers — it also eliminates the ‘turning lane’ onto the Castledermot Road from the Kilcullen direction. Equally, traffic from Athy wishing to turn into the Sunnyhill Road will have to do so directly from the main carriageway.

Traffic executing left turns out of these roads will also be going directly into the main road carriageways.

And for cyclists who have been using the hard shoulder between the motorway bridge and Thompson’s Cross, for safety reasons, the new curb will force them directly out into the mainstream traffic. The problem is equally so for pedestrians, especially families with buggies. There will be no path on the former hard shoulder sections, which will be filled in with topsoil and grassed.

According to Cllr Ivan Keatley, who is a regular user of the junction, consideration was given to extending the 60km/h speed limit out to beyond the junction, but he said that would need to be enforced to be effective.

He says he and his fellow public representatives will continue to lobby for a proper roundabout at the junction. “But realistically, it’s just not going to happen in the short term.”