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Sunday 20 October 2019

Worst traffic of the year expected: May bank holiday mass exodus to cause delays

Gridlock on our motorways is back to boom-time levels
Gridlock on our motorways is back to boom-time levels

Meadhbh McGrath

Drivers are being warned to expect a particularly heavy bout of pre-bank holiday traffic as this evening will see some of the worst traffic of the year.

As the May bank holiday weekend kicks off, the mass exodus from the capital is set to bring chaos to roads across the country.

A spokesperson from AA Roadwatch noted that congestion will be heaviest along routes leading out of Dublin, beginning early on Friday afternoon.

“The May bank holiday starts off the summer for a lot of people so they will be getting out of the main cities and the main towns.

“Over the weekend and when people are heading back on Monday, the traffic tends to be more staggered, but Friday evening you will see the worst of it,” she said.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have urged motorists to slow down and take care on the roads this weekend.

Read More: More rain, hail and a chance of snow as Ireland braces itself for wintery conditions ... for May bank holiday weekend

The appeal comes as alarming new figures show speed contributes to 64 road deaths a year.

A report released earlier this week by the RSA found that speed was the main contributory factor in the deaths of 322 people over a five-year period.

“Excessive speed is one of the biggest contributory factors in collisions and unfortunately, our research highlights that it is still a big problem on Irish roads,” said Moyagh Murdock, chief executive of the RSA.

“I would urge people to slow down, take their time and drive at a speed suitable for the conditions and your experience, as well as the posted speed limit on that road.”

She also cited figures revealing that, between 2010 and 2015, 17 people have been killed and 48 were seriously injured over the May bank holiday period.

So far this year, 51 people have been killed in road collisions, five more than the same time last year.

In a bid to combat driver fatigue over the long weekend, the RSA and Applegreen will be providing free coffee to drivers who mention ‘RSA’ or the ‘Driver Reviver’ campaign to the till operator at participating service stations around the country between 2pm and 8pm from today through Monday May 2.

Read More: Revealed: Ireland's startling new road death figures ahead of Bank Holiday weekend

As the weather is set to take a turn for the worse this weekend, motorists are reminded to check road conditions before making a journey.

“The last May bank holiday was very busy in regard to breakdowns so we are advising people to make sure they do all the checks before they undertake any major journey, as we would advise all year round,” the spokesperson from AA Roadwatch said.

AA Roadwatch is predicting the most congestion will be on:

  • The N4/M4 Dublin/Sligo Road between the Chapelizod Bypass and J7 Maynooth, which tends to be heaviest between J4 Newcastle and J6 Celbridge.
  • Further west on this route, it will be quite slow through Carrick on Shannon.
  • Delays are also expected southbound on the M7 Dublin/Limerick Road between J6 Castlewarden down to J11 M9, and southbound on the M50 from J15 Kilternan down to the M11 as far as J5 Bray North.
  • The N21 Limerick/Tralee Road is expected to be particularly busy this evening, especially at Adare. Drivers are also advised that a stop/go system is in place until 8pm today between Abbeyfield and Castleisland in Kerry.

Passengers taking public transport are advised that a Sunday timetable will operate on all Dublin Bus routes and both Luas lines on the bank holiday, May 2, and that major service alterations are in place across all Irish Rail schedules throughout the weekend.

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