The decision to ban all left-turning traffic onto Bridge Street off The Quay has been labelled ‘crazy’ by Waterford City Councillors Cha O’Neill and Hilary Quinlan.
But the ban, as pointed out to Cllr O’Neill at the November meeting of Waterford City Council, had been in place prior to the ongoing ‘Green Route’ works commencing on the route, said Transportation Director of Services Fergus Galvin.
“What’s going on now is deadly dangerous, and I must admit that when we voted to approve the Green Route three years ago, I didn’t see this coming,” said Cllr O’Neill.
“I can only describe some of what’s been going on down at the junction leading onto the bridge in the last few weeks as deadly dangerous.
“I was driving down that way one day last week and there was a lorry in the outside lane while I was inside him in my car and as we were passing over the bridge he nearly went into me…given how tight the space is down there now, there’s no way he could have seen me as he was turning, and I don’t mind saying I was none the better for it….
“And the way things are at present, it means that up Vulcan Street and Thomas’s Street is the only left turn on the whole stretch of The Quay.
Cllr O’Neill added: “I realise I’m not the first to bring this up either, but the space available to emergency vehicles on The Quay has also been greatly restricted, and that might be a problem particularly at the GPO roundabout looking down the line.”
Cllr Hillary Quinlan, while admitting that he was “supportive of the works to date,” described the situation at the Bridge Street junction as “crazy”.
He told last week’s meeting at City Hall: “I believe that allowing cars and smaller vans, for deliveries and so on, to turn left onto Bridge Street, is a no-brainer. Heavy traffic – HGVs and the like – have not been allowed up Bridge Street for a few years now and it’s worked very well.
“But now that even smaller vehicles cannot turn left off The Quay, meaning that if you’re caught in the inside lane, you’ve got to drive across Rice Bridge and then get into a queue on the bridge to access Bridge Street, and if you ask anyone who’s been caught down there at peak traffic times in the last few weeks, that means you could end up being stuck on the bridge for 15 minutes. To be honest, it’s crazy at the moment.”
Cllr Tom Cunningham agreed with the sentiments expressed by his colleagues, adding: “I do feel that cars and small to medium-sized vans should be allowed to access Bridge Street from The Quay…and I believe that businesses along O’Connell Street are suffering under this new arrangement.”
Cllr Davy Daniels described the matter as “one of concern to many motorists”, adding when he’d been told previously that the prospect of a roundabout being installed at The Quay/Bridge Street junction “was a non-runner”.
Fergus Galvin noted to Councillors that there’s been no “left turn onto Bridge Street as per 2010”, adding: “there’s not a proposal to change that – that’s the way it has been for quite some time”.