A new temporary lay-out at the Tesco Ardkeen roundabout was removed last Wednesday, following widespread criticism of Waterford Council both online and at the local authority’s November meeting.
The Council had been requested by the national Transport Authority to participate in the trial of what is known as a Continental-style roundabout, which has a single lane approach on all sides to encourage slower speeds. However there were long delays for motorists when the new layout was first installed last Friday week.
The Council took a ‘hammering’ on social media over the tailbacks, according to Cllr Mary Roche (Ind). She raised the issue at the November Metropolitan meeting, noting that a number of councillors had warned about the chaos that the layout changes would cause.
“In the history of being on the Council, I have never received so many complaints about an issue”, Cllr Roche continued.
“I heard from people who missed hospital appointments, Tesco workers who took 45 minutes to get out of the car park…the Council is taking a hammering on social media and it’s no surprise.”
Cllr Davy Daniels (Ind) said he had warned the Council last April – when the proposal was first raised – that this would cause huge delays and frustrations amongst motorists. “I said then that it was a non-runner, it should never have happened.”
Cllr Daniels accused the Council of not vetting proposed projects from the Department of Transport properly.
“My phone never stopped ringing on the Friday and Saturday of the trial. I am incensed that this went ahead when I asked for it to be abandoned time and again.”
Senior Roads Engineer Ray Mannix explained to councillors that the Council had sought funding for a revised traffic layout on the road – including cycle lanes – from the National Transport Authority (NTA). Approval for the design was refused but the NTA instead proposed a Continental-style roundabout with a single lane approach.
The Council had expressed concerns to the NTA about the impact that this would have on traffic so it was agreed that a trial would take place and if that didn’t work the NTA would reconsider the original design. Mr Mannix acknowledged the serious traffic delays at the weekend and said the traffic counts would be brought back to the NTA.
In response, Cllr Daniels expressed disbelief that the NTA sanctioned the closure of an access lane to a hospital. Cllr Eddie Mulligan (FF) was told that business owners were not given advance notice of the trial.
Responding to a query from Cllr Adam Wyse (FF) , Mr Mannix said €20,000 had been spent to purchase the lane divisions but the NAT had covered this cost and these divisions could be reused by the Council.