Leitrim county councillors back call for hard shoulder provision on future road projects

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

Traffic tailback at last year's National Ploughing Championship in New Ross. It is hoped that the new bypass will alleviate congestion. Photo: Charlie Maher.

Leitrim county councillors want all future dual carriageway developments to include a hard shoulder.

Leitrim's county councillors have unanimously backed a motion calling for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to include provision for a hard shoulder in future national road re-alignments and  new road layouts.

Cllr Sean McDermott put forward the proposal at the recent Council meeting noting that the lack of a hard shoulder on recent realignment and dual carriageway projects was "potentially dangerous". 

He asked the Council to write to the TII and request that a hard shoulder provision be included in all future national route projects.

Leitrim County Council's Director of Services for Economic Development, Planning, Environment and Transportation, Joseph Gilhooly said this issue was discussed at the Environmental, Transportation and Infrastructural Policy Strategic Policy Committee in 2016.

"This committee adopted a policy that all new road schemes in this county should have a hard shoulder. This policy was advised to the TII," he added.

However he noted that in March last year the TII had responded to this stating "that as a roads authority Leitrim County Council are obliged to comply with the NRA Design Manual for Roads and Bridges. Any alteration to these standards will require approval of a Departure from the Standards".

Cllr McDermott said he felt that the exclusion of a hard shoulder, especially on a realignment project such as the works on the N16, was a "huge mistake".

"This has made the road very mean looking.I think failing to make space to provide a hard shoulder is only a short term gain. We should write to the Minister and the TII and stress again that, in future, Co Leitrim has a certain section of realignment with a hard shoulder included.

Cllr Des Guckian backed this call adding that the situation on the Rooskey/Dromod bypass was also dangerous because of the failure to provide a hard shoulder.