A total of 171 signatures have been collected in a petition calling for a safe walking/cycle way along the Castleblaney Road in Dundalk.
The road is one of the main routes to the North West region and passes a number of residential areas as well as two of the biggest secondary schools in the town, De La Salle Secondary School and Dun Lughaidh Secondary Schools.
Yet pedestrians and cyclists regularly have to move out of the way of traffic at great risks.
Councillor Ollan Herr claims that most residents are very frustrated at continuing delays in making it safe for walkers or cyclists on this road.
“The patience of people has run out,” he claims.
“For more than two decades there was hope that the dangers on this road for ‘all road users’ would prompt a response from the Roads Authority. Instead the bottleneck on the eastern side of the Law Bog is to be left untouched and there is to be no spending on footpaths along any section of the road.
The petition to be put before the local authority reads as follows:
“In accordance with the Roads Act, 1993 Section 17, 2 which states that the National Roads Authority shall consider the need of all road users; we the undersigned call on Louth County Council and the National Roads Authority to ensure the provision of a traffic protected or separated safe walking/ cycling route suitable for school students, walkers, wheelchairs, prams and push chairs; alongside the new N53 road improvement scheme as far as the western edge of the Law Bog.
We call for the provision of a 2 m wide footpath/ cycle way at the dangerous bottle neck on the road at the eastern end of the Law Bog. We also call for traffic calming and a safe pedestrian crossing to link the two staggered footpaths on either side of the road on the eastern side of the Motorway Roundabout and a further pedestrian crossing between the petrol station and the bridge over the river.”
Speaking about the petition, Cllr Herr said: “Given that so many people have been killed and injured over the years we must welcome the moves in progressing the Road Improvement Scheme.”
Councillor Herr also believes, however, that many of the pressing safety issues for walkers and cyclists along this road will remain and that this is unacceptable.
He said: “Where else in the country is it necessary for school students to go through a ditch into a field on their way home in order to avoid the dangerous conditions for walkers on the edge of the road?”
Councillor Herr is concerned that the funding for a separate walking/cycleway project may not happen for another 10 years or more given the enormous financial problems of the country.
“My view is that the situation for ‘all other’ road users is as dangerous as ever and that it would be more economical to provide the walking infrastructure now; at the same time as they are building the new road,” he said.