A new product seen by a local contractor at a trade show abroad is being considered as a solution to the need for an automated bollard system to manage the pedestrianised area of North Main street in Wexford.
Wexford Borough District Council had planned to install automated bollards at the junction of Lower George’s Street and Selskar Street but discovered during site investigations and a Ground Probing Radar survey that there was insufficient space due to ‘wall to wall’ utility services buried in the ground.
“We researched the market during 2021 and were unable to identify an automated bollard that could be installed given the constraints of North Main Street”, Borough Engineer Sean Kavanagh told councillors.
Last month, a contractor brought the Council’s attention to a new product, a hydraulic unit, that may be suitable for the area.
"We are currently engaging with the Italian manufacturer to garner more detailed information on this product, including locations where it has been installed, the options for control and safety features to seer if it is suitable for the location”, he said.
The Engineer said the section of Selskar and North Main Street from its junction with Lower George’s Street to the junction with Charlotte Street has been a designated pedestrian zone since the major resurfacing of the Main Street in the mid to late 1990s.
Bollards have always been in place at the junction and are unlocked between 8 am and 11 am Monday to Saturday to allow large service vehicles to enter the area, a practice that has remained unchanged.
In September 2019, in the interest of public safety, the Council moved to enforce the pedestrian areas of North Main Street that were left permanently open to vehicles. The volume of vehicles using North Main Street were a matter of serious concern and it was decided to close Monck Street at its junction with North Main Street from 11 am to 5pm during the week and 10.30am to 6pm Friday and Saturday.
Following the closure of Monck Street for construction works in November 2020, access to the area could only be gained through Selskar Street. The cash-in-transit van and the post office were issued with keys so they could gain access in the afternoons with North Main Street closed between 11 am and 8 am the following morning.
However, the Borough Engineer said the regulation of the pedestrian zone became relaxed during the period of Covid restrictions over the past two years, with the bollards controlling the zone not always reinstated at 11am each morning after refuse collections and deliveries, and often remaining open throughout the day and into the night time hours.
Keys were also issued to businesses on request when lockdown was relaxed but in recent times, it was found that the bollards were being removed outside the agreed times, left unlocked or placed adjacent to shop fronts.
As the town has now fully reopened for business, the area has been fully restored to a pedestrianised zone from 11 am each day.
The area is opened at 8am to facilitate deliveries to local businesses and the bollards reinstated at the George’s Street junction at 11am.
The local authority came up with the idea of automated rising bollards as a solution to the management of the pedestrian area but ran into difficulties when it was discovered there was insufficient space for them.