Further adjustments to the layout of roundabouts to improve traffic flow are being considered by Waterford City Council.
The recent modification to the roundabout at Waterford Regional Hospital (WRH) has been hailed a success by city engineers, who are now contemplating similar re-adjustments on other busy routes.
On the citybound approach from Dunmore, the inside lane, previously accessible only to those entering WRH, is now also available to motorists proceeding to the city centre.
The outside lane has now been designated for cars accessing the first exit only, proceeding in the direction of Tesco Ardkeen and the Outer Ring Road.
On November 18th, three roadside signs were erected on the Dunmore approach to the roundabout, while the road itself was also painted with the appropriate markings to notify motorists of the changes.
“Well it’s certainly working, there’s no question about that,” said Frank Roche, senior engineer with the City Council’s Transport Department.
“Heretofore the roundabout has been working on one lane, so if you were going straight or turning left you went into the left hand lane approaching the roundabout.
“And very frequently the right hand lane was empty and in some cases, people were jumping queues, jumping into the right hand lane and even going around and going on into town…effectively, the entire roundabout is (now) working much more efficiently.”
While the adjustment is being adhered to by the majority of motorists approaching the roundabout, there are still a number of drivers remaining in the left lane and proceeding to the second exit.
But Frank Roche feels that the City Council has provided motorists with the required level of on-site awareness considering the significant nature of the adjustment.
“There are three signs on the approach above ground and two signs on the road itself (so) there are five pieces of information approaching the roundabout,” he said.
“And we’ve heard the comments that where there are significant changes, maybe we might consider better ways of alerting people, but I think at this stage the actual changes have settled in and I’ve been looking at it myself a few times.
“I think most have taken to it, actually and most of the regular users now are moving very swiftly into the right hand lane if they’re going straight and we think it’s working very well.”
Before proceeding with the realignment, the City Council met with senior traffic engineers and Waterford Gardaí and all agreed that the proposed changes were satisfactory.
“We’re very impressed and we’re probably looking at other roundabouts now to see if we can do the same thing,” Mr Roche said, who added that the works didn’t ‘fly in the face’ of the Rules of the Road.
He added: “It was done previously on the Inner Ring Road at the N25 (at the RSC) and I think, unless I’m mistaken, there have not been any accidents on the Inner Ring Road, nor have we had any difficulties on the one at the Dunmore Road.
“But notwithstanding that, we hear the comments (about the possible confusion) and we want to make sure that everyone knows about it.”