A truck which overturned at the Slieverue Roundabout on Tuesday morning last has once again highlighted the need for improved pedestrian safety levels in the area, according to a local County Councillor.
Speaking to The Munster Express, Cllr Ger Frisby said the incident was a reminder of the need to improve a “troubling and long-standing situation” at Rathpatrick, adding that “a ‘prevention is better than cure’ solution is what’s needed”.
Cllr Frisby (FF), who has raised the matter at District and County Council level, is hoping to meet with an official of the rebranded Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), which incorporates the National Roads Authority (NRA), to discuss the matter.
“First of all, the most important thing to state is that the truck driver wasn’t seriously injured, which was the most over-riding concern in this particular instance, and I think we’re all thankful that that was the case,” he said.
“But when you consider the time the accident occurred – just after the school run had ended – and the fact that it was a good morning weatherwise – it was a stroke of good fortune that there was nobody walking on the road at the time. Otherwise, we could have been talking about an even more serious incident here.”
Cllr Frisby’s basic argument, one which he has discussed since winning election last year, is that the provision of an inside margin roundabout would provide pedestrians with a safer area in which to walk, directly opposite the village’s National School.
While the truck in question crashed into the roadside barrier, the barrier, despite subsequent buckling, did its intended job well, protecting that inside margin.
So in that instance, had there been a footpath inside the barrier, the barrier would have protected any walkers at the time of last Tuesday’s accident.
And it would also have provided pedestrians with a space in which they would have stood a much better chance of avoiding injury than what remains the case at that location currently.
Cllr Frisby has also made repeated calls for the installation of a pedestrian crossing which, given how busy the road is, would surely entail the requirement of traffic lights given the inconsistent behaviour of motorists at pedestrian crossings.
Speaking at last Wednesday’s Piltown District meeting, Cllr Frisby said this was “something I’d made a priority issue after being elected last year and I’ll not be backing down on this in any way until the crossing is put in place”.
The provision of a pedestrian crossing is the responsibility of the TII, with local Area Engineer Ian Gardner telling Piltown District Councillors on September 2nd that Kilkenny County Council is “chasing up the NRA” (as then it was) on the matter.
Speaking after that meeting Cllr Frisby said: “None of what to see this only going ahead on the back of someone suffering an injury or worse and it’s in the interests of pedestrians and motorists in equal measure to see this matter being finally addressed.”
He added: “People in Slieverue and anyone who uses the road on a regular basis know how busy that particular roundabout is. A lot of people walk that road so the need for a pedestrian crossing couldn’t be clearer.
“There was, I believe, €50,000 set aside for this when it was first proposed, and it’s a shame nothing has happened as of yet. But until such time as it’s sorted out, then I’ll continue to raise this as an issue.”
An email and two phone calls were made to the new TII last week seeking a comment from a representative in relation to the Slieverue Roundabout, but no reply was forthcoming when we went to press.