€1.7m spent on The Mall but yards away the road is a mess

Simon Broiuder

While views on the decision to pedestrianise The Mall remain mixed to say the least it's impossible to argue that the town's main shopping street isn't looking far more inviting.

The same, unfortunately, can't be said for the majority of Bridge Street and Russell Street where, to put it very mildly, the road surface is an absolute shambles.

Just yards from where the impressive and well finished refurbishment works on The Mall come to an end the road surface is falling apart and is pockmarked with potholes and subsided tarmac.

Driving along the street can be a tooth-rattling experience and in recent weeks The Kerryman has spoken to numerous drivers who are utterly fed up with the state of the road and want something to be done about it.

It seems utterly bizarre that just a few yards from where a massive €1.7 million refurbishment project was completed the road can be left in such an abject condition.

It makes a mockery of the work done on The Mall and it is understandable that motorists - and businesses in the immediate area - are less than impressed with the state the street has been left in.

For years now Bridge Street and Russell Street have been in need of a major upgrade.

Aside from the potholes that are driving motorists to distraction the footpaths are also in dire need of work.

When it comes to pedestrian traffic Bridge Street and Russell Street comprise one of the busiest areas in the entire town yet, despite this, the paths are far too narrow.

It is no exaggeration to say that at peak times walking along the street is actually dangerous for pedestrians, especially any mother trying to negotiate it with a pram or buggy.

That's somewhat ironic given that just around the corner there's a spacious car free zone where shoppers can ramble freely and which already had safe, wide footpaths long before vast sums of money was pumped into it.

What makes the situation all the more annoying is the fact that the entire Bridge Street area was due to be included in the Mall refurbishment project.

This would have seen all the problems mentioned resolved but unfortunately Kerry County Council could not secure enough funding to complete the town centre refurbishment as originally planned.

Kerry County Council must operate on a strict budget and I can understand that the authority can't afford to carry out every project that it would like to.

That said, surely some money can be found to at least bring the road surface up to something approaching a reasonable standard and to make the footpaths even a little bit safe r.

It's one of the busiest sections of road in the town centre and its condition is only getting worse.

The potholes aren't quite the trenches that some drivers claim they are but without work they soon will be.