The roundabout at Blackhall, which a number of councillors have expressed concerns about.

Duncan frustration over Blackhall roundabout dangers

Frustration over safety issues at the roundabout to the rear of Dolan’s pub at Blackhall was expressed by several voices at the April meeting of the Municipal District of Mullingar Kinnegad after the subject was raised for discussion by Cllr Andrew Duncan.

Cllr Duncan had a motion on the agenda formally proposing that the district address the safety issues at the Dominick Street to Blackhall junction “in particular the roundabout at the Blackhall end”.

The official written response from the district stated that the junction is within the 50kmph speed limit.

“A Road Safety Audit has been carried out by independent consultants which concluded the junction is safe,” the response continued before going on to add that a rubbing strip and kerbing was recently installed at that location.

“Westmeath County Council is not aware of any accidents at this location,” the response concluded.

Cllr Duncan wasn't entirely happy with the response stating that he has heard several people raising concerns, particularly from the point of view of pedestrian safety.

“[Dolan’s] has been hit by trucks a couple of times, but I saw for myself how difficult it is for pedestrians trying to cross when there's a truck on the roundabout,” he said.

Cllr Aoife Davitt backed Cllr Duncan: “It's not a safe junction for motorists either,” she said, adding that she and her family were nearly “taken out of it” recently by a speeding motorist.

“There is no view at all,” she said, going on to suggest that the council look at reversing the direction of the traffic flow on the street from Dominick Street to Blackhall.

Cllr Ken Glynn was also of the view that the junction was unsafe.

“When I read the response, I was taken aback to see that these consultants would consider that junction safe,” he stated.

“Anybody you meet out there who is using it on a daily basis, or who's working there, can tell you it's not a safe junction.”

Mayor Hazel Smyth agreed: “I don't think this junction is particularly safe at all either,” she said, while Cllr Mick Dollard said in his view, the best solution would be to make Grove Street one-way, even though this would not be a popular solution with all.

“The streets can’t be widened because of all the houses that are there so I don't know what technical solution you can come to that is going to suit everyone,” he said. Cllr Duncan agreed that there was merit to this suggestion.

District engineer Pat Kavanagh said the whole idea of the transportation plan for Mullingar is to look at how to manage road use for both cars and pedestrians for the next 20-30 years.

“It's a balance as to how you manage traffic and pedestrians and certainly the pedestrian is the most vulnerable person on the road so we must cater for them,” he said adding that if motorists drove at the proper speed at that junction there shouldn't be a problem.

However, he undertook to look at the junction again.

Director of services David Jones added that as part of the transport study that is currently underway, there will be data forthcoming that will enable then make a judgement call on the junction.

He gave an undertaking that as soon as there is information available, the district will come back to members with those findings and proposals ultimately on whatever potential changes might be made.