Cost of replacing new road signs to reach €8m
THE bill for replacing thousands of speed signs across the country is expected to reach €8m.
Earlier this week, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said the 80kmh speed signs on narrow rural roads would be shelved because they sent out the "wrong message" to motorists.
The signs will be replaced from next summer with a black and white alternative, similar to those used prior to 2004.
The new signs will not contain a numeral, so motorists will be expected to use their judgment in relation to speed.
The overhaul of the speed signs, which was recommended in a government-commissioned report, will cost taxpayers €8m, the Irish Independent has learnt.
A leading road expert said last night that it was "absurd" that the 80kmh signs remained on narrow rural roads for nine years. Conor Faughnan, of AA Ireland, told the Irish Independent that the new signs would improve road safety significantly.
"There are certain country roads and boreens where having an 80kmh speed limit sign was simply ludicrous," he said.
"Certainly it is absurd that we've had to wait nine years for action to finally be taken."
Mr Faughnan believes the presence of such signs on certain rural roads has been "so damaging to the reputation of speed limits".
A spokesman for the minister confirmed that up to €8m would be spent on replacing the signs, but said a portion of this would have been spent on refreshing the 80kmh signs.
Meanwhile, the Dail yesterday began debating a FF proposal to introduce harsher penalties for so-called hit-and-run offences.
Drivers who leave the scene of a collision can be handed a maximum six-month prison sentence under current laws.
FF's transport spokesman Timmy Dooley has proposed much tougher sentences and has received the backing of Mr Varadkar.