Tullamore town councillor Brendan Killeavy has said locals are happy at an NRA decision to fund a traffic light upgrade instead of a roundabout at the top of New Road in the town. A transportation study that was completed recently recommended a roundabout to replace the present junction arrangement. However, a Tullamore Area Committee meeting last Monday heard that the NRA has recommended to retain the traffic light arrangement.
On Tuesday last Sinn Féin councillor Brendan Killeavy took to Facebook to gauge local reaction to the news. "What are people's opinions on the need for a roundabout at the top of the New Road in Tullamore?" he asked. "The NRA say we don't need one and I would be inclined to agree. My own opinion is that the lights are working fine with the exception of the morning rush to school. Apart from that since the opening of the by-pass there is never any major congestion at the junction. If it's not broken don't be wasting money to fix it."
The comment had attracted 36 'likes' and 41 comments at time of going to print, with the majority of comments supporting traffic lights at the junction rather than a roundabout. "Leave it alone, we really don't need another roundabout in the town," one commenter posted. "No need for it at all, just wasting money that should be used on something that actually does need fixing," another said.
Commenters did, however, suggest that the junction would be improved by widening the Clonminch Road and thereby allowing cars to continue straight at the lights when other cars are waiting to turn right onto New Road.
Concerns were also raised by commenters about the mini-roundabout on the Cloncollig Road at Aura Leisure Centre, as well as the roundabout at Scally's Centra on the Kilbeggan Road.
Speaking to the Offaly Independent Cllr Killeavy said he has encountered a broadly similar response on the ground too. "I think it was the right decision," he said, adding that there is no point spending public money on a roundabout if it's not necessary. "There would have been a case for putting in a roundabout about ten years ago when there wasn't the by-pass," he said. "That's not the case anymore. That junction works well."
He said details of an upgrade for the junction are, as yet, unknown. However he said it's hoped traffic lights will be installed at the roundabout near Scally's Centra in the near future, and speed controls installed near the canal bridge on the Clara Road in order to help cars coming from the Rahan Road direction.