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Sunday 15 July 2018

Record traffic levels on M50 are 'affecting safety'

Traffic on the M50 Photo: Arthur Carron
Traffic on the M50 Photo: Arthur Carron
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Increased traffic congestion has "impacted negatively on the safe and efficient" operation of the M50, according to the boss of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

The agency's chief executive, Michael Nolan, is to appear before TDs and senators at the Oireachtas Transport Committee today and is expected say that the gridlock has led to a rise in collisions. The committee will grill Mr Nolan and Hugh Creegan, the deputy chief executive of the National Transport Authority (NTA), over traffic congestion in the Greater Dublin Area.

They will discuss traffic volumes on the M50 and the operation of the controversial Luas Cross City trams.

Mr Nolan's submission to the committee outlines how the economic recovery has brought record traffic to the region, including significant growth on the M50.

This has resulted in a return to peak time congestion on the motorway and Mr Nolan is expected to say that it has negatively affected safety.

He is to tell the committee that increasing traffic congestion leads to an "increase in incidents such as minor rear-end collisions", and that when such accidents happen it results in further gridlock.

TII has been trying to ease the impact of increased traffic with the establishment of an inter-agency incident coordination group that includes the Garda, Fire Brigade and local authorities.

Incident support vehicles are operating on the route to help with breakdowns and minor collisions, and have an average response time of 13 minutes.

Mr Nolan is to tell how TII is currently in the design and procurement phase for a new mandatory variable speed limit and lane control system on the M50.

The intention is to commence operation in late 2019 or early 2020 and the aim is to smooth the flow on the road by regulating speeds. It is believed this will reduce the number of rear-end collisions and should reduce the "significant disruption" caused in both directions on the motorway as a result of "rubber-necking" by motorists.

Irish Independent

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