Urgent calls to tackle lethal Dale Road after tourists' miraculous crash escape
'Minister Ross must visit and see Dale Road for himself'
A German couple narrowly escaped death on the notorious Dale Road on Thursday as their car skidded out of control while trying to avoid striking an oncoming truck.
It was the latest accident on a road now regarded as the worst route in the entire county - along a dangerously undulating causeway track with barely passing room between vehicles.
Germans Diandra Buesen and Daniel Joachim were travelling from Kilkee to Tralee shortly after noon on Thursday when the crash happened.
"Only for a tree, which broke the fall of the vehicle from the road, this would have been so much worse," local Fine Gael County Councillor Aoife Thornton told The Kerryman.
"Thankfully both Diandra and Daniel were uninjured but it was exactly as we warned last month. The last accident on the Dale Road occurred in April and I said in Council then that had the person been a stranger it could have been much more serious.
"Thursday's crash highlighted exactly the dangers the Dale Road poses people who don't know it. Daniel told me that he was driving against a truck but tried pulling over as he felt he could not pass it safely, however with so little space and the big drop the car went out of control. Only for the tree were the couple spared injury or worse."
Residents are now calling on the Council to close the road outright to prevent further accidents pending a full road scheme to make it much safer. "I am repeating my call that the Council would assess the road to see if it needs to be closed now.
"Residents now want the road to be closed, they don't even feel safe in their houses. In fact, the woman who owns the property the car crashed in told me she can't leave her grandchildren play out in the garden for fear they will get hit by a car, a fear glaringly illustrated on Thursday."
Cllr Thornton has welcomed both the reinstatement of the 'specific improvement' fund and the fact the Council is now drawing up a detailed design to rebuild the Dale Road.
"There's a priority list for roadworks in the county but the Dale Road is being taken so seriously now that it is standing alone ahead of that list for funding. Because of this as soon as the Council finish the design they can make the submission immediately without having to come back to elected members.
"I have been informed this process should be complete by next month in the hope of securing funding later this year to beging construction early in 2019.
"We have also secured a meeting with Minister Ross on the issue but it is disappointing that we are still waiting for a date. However, the Mininster should see the road for himself as a matter of urgency," Cllr Thornton said.