The Downs Mullingar is one location where speed limits are to change.

Speed limits to change: public's opinions sought

There’s to be a change in the speed limits on the roads of north Westmeath, it emerged at last month's meeting of Mullingar Municipal District, where members had their say on the proposals, which will now go forward for public consultation and for review by An Garda Síochána.

The process is to be complete by April this year, after which new draft bye-laws on speed limits will be passed into law.

On the N4, at The Downs junction, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) suggested a change to the existing speed limit of 60kmh to 80kmh. The background to the change is the last time there was a review, the junction was just nearing completion and there was a special speed limit of 60kmh in place. TII are suggesting a change to the default speed of a regional road.

In Tyrrellspass, The existing speed limit is 80kmh as you come off the motorway, and on all roundabouts as far as the one on the Rochfortbridge Milltownpass road, where it changes to 60kmh. TII suggested changing the speed limit to 100kmh all the way from Marlinstown, including the two roundabouts and on towards Mullingar.

Members of Mullingar Municipal District disagreed, Cllr Liam McDaniel stating that between the two roundabouts there is a lot of pedestrian traffic.

“Locals are using that area as a looped walk and I’d be concerned about increasing the speed there,” said the Kilbeggan man, proposing that speed limits remain the same.

In agreement was Cllr Sorca Clarke, who said that while she could see the TII’s point of view from looking at the map, those who are familiar with the area will know the amount of pedestrian traffic using the roads there. “I would have grave concerns there,” she said.

In Ballinalack, the TII proposed a speed limit of 60kmh on westbound and eastbound approaches, but Cllr Johnny Penrose said: “Here we are looking to reduce speed limits and the TII are looking at a different approach altogether going through villages – are they mad?”

He proposed that the speed remain the same there, and this was seconded by Cllr Clarke.

In Rathowen, again TII recommended an increase to 60kmh, which was again challenged by Cllr Penrose, who proposed the speed remain the same. That was seconded by Cllr Clarke.

On the N51, a proposal to change the 100kmh speed limit to 80kmh for the full length of the road, excluding Crowenstown which has its own special speed limit, was made by TII.

This was agreed by all members.

In Crowenstown, the existing 60kmh speed limit was proposed to be replaced by a shorter 60kmh periodic speed limit, meaning that only during school times, the speed limit would apply. During summer holidays, the speed limit would increase.

Another speed limit, a 300m speed limit of 50kmh before reaching the school, was also proposed. Both were accepted by all members.

At Cloghan to Killynon, an existing 80kmh speed limit from Billistown and Ballynacor, as far as Cloghan, is currently in place to take cognizance of the works that are being carried out.

TII proposed increasing the limit from Cloghan as far as Killynon, near Turin, which is the extent of the new road, to a speed limit of 100kmh when the new road opens. This was agreed by all.

Along the N52 between Delvin and Killua, a proposal to reduce the speed limit from 100kmh to 80kmh from Delvin to north of the county boundary was accepted by all members. In Delvin, it was proposed by TII to change the limit on the N51 approach from Athboy from 50kmh to 60kmh, while on the N52 approach from Clonmellon, to also change the current 50kmh to 60kmh, extending for a distance past the mart, but Cllr Frank McDermott disagreed with the changes, as did Cllr Una D’Arcy. Both pointed out that there was a playschool there.

“A strong message needs to be sent to TII about our villages along the N52,” said Cllr Una D’Arcy.

“The communities have a fear about the speed of the vehicles, and the size of the vehicles coming through, because it’s the N52. I think it could send a really bad message to the people living on that road if we increase the speed.”

Both were kept at 50kmh.

A proposal to increase the speed at the football pitch in Delvin was also turned down by members.

In Mullingar, junctions 15 at Marlinstown, 16 at Delvin Road, and 17 at Castlepollard Road, have a 60kmh zone, and TII proposed to increase the limit to 80kmh, and continue with 80kmh through the Marlinstown roundabout on the N52 out towards Tyrrellspass.

Cllr Mick Dollard proposed they remain at 60kmh, and this was seconded by Cllr John Shaw.

In Castlepollard, TII proposed that on the approach to Castlepollard from Mullingar the 50kmh zone at the school be extended, which was agreed by members.

Along the Russellstown Road, a request to include a new 130m 60kmh speed zone out the Russellstown road was challenged by Cllr Johnny Penrose, who proposed that it be changed to 50kmh, and this was seconded by Cllr Sorca Clarke and Cllr Mick Dollard.

On the Newbrook Road, a proposal to increase the existing speed limit of 50kmh to 60kmh was challenged by Cllr Ken Glynn.

“This is a popular pedestrian area, cycle and run clubs use this area – I would propose that it would stay as is,” he said, and this was seconded by Cllr Dollard.

Along the Rochfortbridge Road, a proposal to maintain the existing speed limit due to sporadic housing on was welcomed by all.

Notification of the changes will now be made in the local press for public consultation.