Gridlock on the Rosslare Road as roadworks continue
An ambulance was among the vehicles caught in a 5 kilometre traffc tailback on the busy Rosslare Road caused by major roadworks which are set to cause disruption for another three weeks.
Emergency measures including filter lanes, diversions and extra signage were introduced by Wexford County Council after councillors, local businesses, residents and ferry passengers complained about unacceptable traffic delays on the road on the first day that repair works began.
A section of road from Drinagh to Ballykilliane is currently being replaced at a cost of €2.25 million with funding from Transport Infrastructure Ireland. The contractors are Priority Construction under the direction of the County Council.
The local authority originally posted a Map Alerter notice informing the public that the contract would take from August 2 to September 23, a period of almost eight weeks but following complaints, this was shortened to four weeks to minimise disruption.
The reduced contract time is being achieved by working through the night on the section of road with public lighting from Roche's Garage to the roundabout where it is safe to operate after daylight hours.
A stop and go system will be in place from 7 am to 8 pm each day with priority given at certain times to traffic travelling to Rosslare Harbour to meet departing English and French ferries. Traffic lights will operate later in the night.
Cllr. Ger Carthy contacted the Council after receiving a barrage of complaints on the day work started after the bank holiday weekend.
'I know I was one of those who called for the work to be carried out in the first place and the road badly needs re-instating but something had to be done about the length of the delays and the disruption to business. This is a national road out of Rosslare Europort and it sees a lot of traffic every day', he said. Cllr. Carthy who is a paramedic supervisor with the HSE said an ambulance got caught in gridlock for 25 minutes on the first day when there was a tailback from Killinick to Drinagh after the French ferry docked in the port.
'It wasn't an emergency but the ambulance was on a call transporting a patient who needed to get to hospital,' he said.
Director of Services Eamonn Hore visited the area and immediately implemented a series of improvement measures including the introduction of added filter lanes, extra signage to businesses and a diversion through Piercestown to alleviate the traffic pressure.
'There are always a few problems on the first day with things that work and don't work,' said Mr. Hore, adding that the Council contacted the Harbour Master in Rosslare to obtain information on ferry times and designed the contract around these.
'People wonder why we're doing it during the summer. The answer is because we have to. In September, you'll have the school traffic. Later in the year, it's dangerous because of shorter daylight hours. There is a short window for work like this. It's a 2.4 kilometre stretch of national road and it's an expensive job.'
'During the months of June, July and August, you get 7,800 units of traffic on that road every day. There's bound to be hold-ups but we do the best we can,' said Mr. Hore
Wexford County Council has managed to secure over €6 million in Government funding to spend on national road repairs this year.
'In fairness, there haven't been as many complaints since the first day. When it's finished we will get a road that is up to a great standard,' said Cllr. Carthy.