Thousands of angry and frustrated motorists caught for up to two hours in Wednesday’s city wide traffic snarl-up, caused by the flash visit of the Tour of Ireland cycle race, will be somewhat assuaged by the knowledge that the new bridge will be in position to ease the situation next time – if there is a next time.
Extensive TV coverage and trade generated by an overnight stopover by the 110 cyclists and as many more helpers, managers and mechanics, are positives from the event, but that will be little consolation to huge numbers of drivers left gridlocked for what seemed like an eternity, some of them not even knowing the cause.
Neither will it be much comfort to many people inconvenienced to the extent of missing appointments and connections with trains and boats and ‘planes.
The stage end from Dublin was always going to cause hold-ups and hassle, but the fact that the cyclists arrived about 70 minutes later than anticipated – which meant Rice Bridge, the Quay and linking roads onto the Quay were shut for that much longer – led to total chaos.
Except for an emergency traffic lane over the bridge, the roads were closed off for over two hours, which led to a gigantic build-up of traffic. Some of the car occupants didn’t even know the cycle race was due, although in fairness it had been well flagged in the newspaper and on local radio.
To cap it all, interest in the race was distinctly limited, about 2,000 people lining the Quay as the bike men sped to the end line at the GPO at around 3.45, with the world’s fastest rider, Mark Cavendish, leading the way.