Members of the public have been expressing growing concerns over the new road layout at the Whitford Roundabout, which has apparently seen quite a few 'near misses' in recent weeks.
The layout change came into effect very quickly, a message being circulated by Wexford County Council on January 23 stating that the alterations would happen that day. Basically, the change impacts traffic approaching the Whitford roundabout from the Maldron Hotel. While previously traffic both heading left into town and straight on for Rosslare would have occupied the left hand lane, the left hand lane is now for traffic turning left into town only. This means that traffic heading straight across the roundabout towards Rosslare and right towards Duncannon with both take the right hand lane.
Many motorists took to social media to complain that not enough notice had been given of the changes, leading to confusion on the roundabout and nearly causing a couple of accidents.
Mayor of Wexford, Cllr George Lawlor said that the decision had evidently been taken by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and hadn't been discussed at council level.
'I don't think this has been greatly discussed at all,' he said. 'I know people had been complaining of some hold-ups at the roundabouts, but I don't know if this is a response from TII to that. I know that cyclists in particular have certain problems with the new layout and I see their point of view. I'd hate to think that this is something that was put in place with no discussion as it's something that could potentially become confusing and dangerous.'
Chairman of the Wexford Bicycle User Group (WexBug) Phil Skelton drafted a letter to TII, outlining their concerns over changes to the road layout.
'A major concern I would have is how this redesign will effect the safety of bicycle riders in terms of lane change now required to proceed straight here,' he said. 'This is a very popular route for bicycle riders to proceed straight through this roundabout in the direction of Rosslare on the N25. This manoeuvre with the previous design, was possible to do while remaining in the relative safety of the left lane. However, the refit changes this. Now a pedal cyclist is required to merge into the much more dangerous position of the outer lane on an already hostile roundabout to complete this manoeuvre.'
'I am unsure as to the reason for this redesign but I'm confident that the needs of all roads users weren't considered with this new more hostile lay out for cyclists,' Mr Skelton concluded.