Independent representative Joe Kelly has called on Waterford City & County Council to remove the traffic ‘island’ at the junction of Newgate Street and Stephen Street/Browns Lane.

Cllr Kelly explained how “the traffic island and traffic lights were put in as part of a rerouting of traffic as part of the planned redevelopment of the old Kiely’s Bottling Company site and the overall New Street Development Project. However, we all know that development never progressed and therefore the traffic system is not warranted or needed now,” he says.

He described how “the change of flow away from Newgate Street and Barrack Street forced all traffic from New Street and Johns Lane on to Browns Lane and onwards along Hennessy’s Road to the junction with College Street/Bunkers Hill.

“This has lengthened the journey time for drivers who are trying to get to the Barrack Street / Ballybricken / Morrison’s Road area and further on to The Glen and surrounding areas. It’s so bad that some drivers are doing 3-point turns on Browns Lane, going back to the junction then turning left to get to Barrack Street. “The system is a mess,” he stressed.

Residents and Taxis

The former Waterford mayor stated that he has been contacted by residents along Barrack Street and other ‘top of the town’ areas about this and by the Inner-City Residents Association plus several taxi drivers who all want the island removed. The taxi drivers said customers are incurring extra expense because of the extended distance to be travelled.

“I agree with the residents and taxi drivers that this traffic island should be removed and the ‘straight ahead’ route onto Newgate Street and Barrack Street area be restored.

“The huge volume of traffic that was expected to be generated by the New Street Development is simply not there and so the rational for the change in traffic flow is not valid any longer. I have raised this issue at our recent Transport SPC meeting and asked that our roads section remove the traffic island with some urgency.”

However, Cllr Kelly feels the traffic light system “could remain in use at the junction as it serves a real safety purpose controlling the movement of vehicles at the junction. The lights could form part of any future traffic routing system if the redevelopment the New Street / Stephens Street / Browns

Jamie O’Keeffe