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Fred Barry: Many national roads "unsafe"

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  • 13-01-2011 2:05am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭


    MANY of the country’s main roads are unsafe due to poor design and maintenance, the National Roads Authority has warned.

    In an unprecedented criticism of the country’s road network, NRA chief executive Fred Barry said many national primary and secondary roads were simply "not up to standard".

    He claimed typical shortcomings in road design included the absence of signage at crossroads, pavement deficiencies, poor drainage, limited visibility, inferior road construction material and poor alignment.

    "Many of our national roads do not come close to meeting current design and construction standards," Mr Berry told a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport yesterday.

    The Road Safety Authority has estimated that road conditions were the main contributory factor in 20 deaths on Irish roads between 2008 and 2009.

    Although the NRA oversees major road projects on national primary and secondary roads, local authorities remain responsible for the maintenance and repair of the same routes.

    "Although we are making steady progress, much of the unimproved, national road network is not up to standard," said Mr Berry. "A lot of secondary roads have very significant deficiencies."

    He claimed it was "questionable" if local authorities were following the Department of Transport’s guidelines governing the management of roadworks.

    However, Mr Berry acknowledged that one of the main problems was adequate funding and he recommended that county councils be given more resources and training.

    He also expressed concern about the large number of state agencies that have various responsibilities for the country’s road network including the NRA, the RSA, the National Transport Authority, individual local authorities and the Department of Transport.

    "It is easy to understand that there might well be confusion as to who is responsible for what," he said.

    Yesterday’s hearing was called as a result of pressure by the families of three victims of road accidents in Donegal, Kerry and Mayo which were believed to have been caused by poor road surfaces. Relatives of the victims have campaigned for years over the failure of local authorities to account for their poor record on road safety maintenance.

    The RSA claims that poor road conditions are the principle cause of 3% of all fatal road collisions.

    Mr Berry said the NRA would carry out 200 separate minor works schemes in 2011, almost all of which were concerned with road safety improvements.

    RSA chief executive Noel Brett suggested a specialist body should be established to investigate road accidents similar to existing ones which examine rail, aviation and marine accidents.

    Read more: http://www.examiner.ie/ireland/nra-admits-many-main-roads-unsafe-141994.html#ixzz1AsBD3tiZ

    The transcript of the meeting isn't online yet.


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,733 ✭✭✭✭corktina


    theres no such thing as an unsafe road. Its DRIVERS that are unsafe.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,043 ✭✭✭niloc1951


    corktina wrote: »
    theres no such thing as an unsafe road. Its DRIVERS that are unsafe.

    I could not agree with such a simplistic statement.

    Yes, roads ARE unsafe, like many other things in life which present risk levels of one degree or another to our health and safety.

    In the equation, there are unfortunately road users, while not being unsafe per say, are often ill trained and have little practiced in the art of 'reading' road conditions and arrive unexpectedly into a difficult situation from which they are unable to extract themselves without catastrophic results (end up in a crash).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    corktina wrote: »
    theres no such thing as an unsafe road. Its DRIVERS that are unsafe.

    I think that's a bit like saying the steps up to Skellig Michael are safe, but that the walkers who scale it aren't when an accident happens.

    You surely don't think that the N73 in its own right is safe?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,110 ✭✭✭KevR


    corktina wrote: »
    theres no such thing as an unsafe road. Its DRIVERS that are unsafe.

    There definitely is such a thing as a road which is not fit for purpose. The purpose of our national road network is to carry reasonably large volumes of traffic around the country at a reasonable speed and in a safe manner. If it takes an unacceptable length of time to get from A to B safely on the national network then it is not fit for purpose.

    That's not to say there aren't any bad drivers in Ireland because there are loads!

    With that thinking you could say that we don't need to salt our motorways and national roads when there is ice/snow because people should slow to a complete crawl and they won't be in any danger that way. But in reality, we have to keep conditions on these roads in such a way so that people can still get from A to B in a reasonable timeframe and so that the country can remain open for business.

    Just so nobody takes me up wrong - I always reduce my speed during cold weather even if the roads look like they have been treated. There is always a chance that they could miss a spot when treating it. When it's cold, I don't expect that I should be able to drive around at the same speed as on a clear dry summer's day but I do expect to be able to drive at a reasonable pace on main routes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,130 ✭✭✭Rodin


    corktina wrote: »
    theres no such thing as an unsafe road. Its DRIVERS that are unsafe.

    No such thing as an unsafe road? Ever travelled between killarney and kenmare where the road is prone to subsidence but has a 100km/h limit?
    Rubbish. A crater in the middle of a road makes it unsafe.

    and assuming you're from Cork from your name, you should well know about unsafe roads. The roads in Cork City are an absolute disgrace


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,878 ✭✭✭whyulittle


    So a few weeks after the completion of the MIU's, the head of the road building authority says that there are loads of other bad roads in the country........hmmmm.......

    :p


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    whyulittle wrote: »
    So a few weeks after the completion of the MIU's, the head of the road building authority says that there are loads of other bad roads in the country........hmmmm.......

    :p

    To be fair, this has always been Fred Barry's line, and he speaks the truth. The N73, N72, N24, and lots more are still very very dire. Eighteenth-century roads for the most part (or older), and not up to the job.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,733 ✭✭✭✭corktina


    In my defence, if a road is of a poor standard then a good driver will drive with this in mind. The road is then not unsafe.
    Were a driver to drive at 100k (as implied above) just because that is the limit, HE would be unsafe NOT the road.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 67,996 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011


    corktina, bear in mind that the sole road safety message put out here hammers home a concept that the limits are instant cutoff points between safe and dangerous. No driver is ever told the concept of driving to conditions here. I believe you were trained outside of Ireland...


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,858 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    corktina wrote: »
    In my defence, if a road is of a poor standard then a good driver will drive with this in mind. The road is then not unsafe.
    Were a driver to drive at 100k (as implied above) just because that is the limit, HE would be unsafe NOT the road.

    Agreed, but in a lot of cases the 100kmh would give the IMPRESSION that the road is safe to drive at 100, even though that generally is not the case.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,733 ✭✭✭✭corktina


    MYOB wrote: »
    corktina, bear in mind that the sole road safety message put out here hammers home a concept that the limits are instant cutoff points between safe and dangerous. No driver is ever told the concept of driving to conditions here. I believe you were trained outside of Ireland...
    indeed I was, in a land where it is the norm to take lessons, to not drive unaccompanied and where as a result the standard of driving is much higher
    Agreed, but in a lot of cases the 100kmh would give the IMPRESSION that the road is safe to drive at 100, even though that generally is not the case.

    It should not give any competatant person that impression, lest they were to drive at 100 k round a bend. (you'd slow for a bend so naturally you should anticipate other hazards and adjust your speed accordingly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 232 ✭✭Heartbreak Hank


    corktina wrote: »
    It should not give any competatant person that impression, lest they were to drive at 100 k round a bend. (you'd slow for a bend so naturally you should anticipate other hazards and adjust your speed accordingly.

    I always found the localised speed signs in NZ and places in the US great for giving an indication of the severity of the upcoming bends etc.

    %7B76520EA4-2114-4FEE-AAF6-3C476D857653%7D.jpg

    I think they are suggestions rather than legal limits and I'm not sure if there is formula for calculating the safe speed or Johnny sign maker has a look at it and guesses but I really found them helpful.

    I think I remember seeing one for 25 km/h on the west coast of NZ's South Island. That road was probably 100 km/h limit wise.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,091 ✭✭✭marmurr1916


    I always found the localised speed signs in NZ and places in the US great for giving an indication of the severity of the upcoming bends etc.

    %7B76520EA4-2114-4FEE-AAF6-3C476D857653%7D.jpg

    I think they are suggestions rather than legal limits and I'm not sure if there is formula for calculating the safe speed or Johnny sign maker has a look at it and guesses but I really found them helpful.

    They're suggested limits. US mandatory speed limit signs have black text on a white background.

    I've seen similar signs on the N71, although they may have been removed after the change over to metric speed limits, since the suggested limits were in mph.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,043 ✭✭✭niloc1951


    In France recommended speed limit signs are quite common, they are square with white numbers on blue backgrounds.

    Minimum speed limit signs are round with white numbers on blue background


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,779 ✭✭✭Carawaystick


    corktina wrote: »
    theres no such thing as an unsafe road. Its DRIVERS that are unsafe.

    Some years ago a piece of Harcourt street, Dublin, collapsed and fell into a coal bunker beneath it, just before a bus travelled over it. If a pedestrian was standing over this section as it collapsed, what driver would have made this unsafe?

    Although Fred has spouted a lot of untrue stuff in the nra press releases through the years.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,733 ✭✭✭✭corktina


    that was an unsafe coal bunker I imagine and/or an exception proving the rule.... doesnt really alter my opinion


  • Registered Users Posts: 306 ✭✭busman


    I always found the localised speed signs in NZ and places in the US great for giving an indication of the severity of the upcoming bends etc.

    You mean like the ones we have here?

    2009_0428ac.jpg

    I prefer the use of SLOW that a fixed advisary limit.
    It then applies to everybody, every driving condition and every driving style :D


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 14,073 Mod ✭✭✭✭monument


    Rodin wrote: »
    No such thing as an unsafe road? Ever travelled between killarney and kenmare where the road is prone to subsidence but has a 100km/h limit?
    Rubbish. A crater in the middle of a road makes it unsafe.

    Sounds like an unsafe speed limit. The road sounds poor, but maybe not unsafe in its self.


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