Offaly County Council defends Tullamore streetscape amid criticism
Tullamore District Engineer with Offaly County Council, John Connelly, has defended the ongoing Tullamore streetscape works amid criticism from the public and a number of local councillors.
Cllrs Sean O'Brien and Ken Smollen both vocally criticised the works last week while paramedics expressed concern that the finished roadways would be too narrow to allow drivers make space for passing ambulances.
Speaking to the Offaly Express at the weekend, Mr Connolly said: "There is inevitable disruption to normal traffic flows during road works.
He insisted that the design of the temporary traffic management during the street enhancement works in Tullamore is in accordance with Department of Transport guidelines and manuals.
"The design philosophy is to rebalance the allocation of road space among the various road users, giving a greater emphasis to pedestrian traffic and safety than would has been the case in previous guidance," he continued.
"While sections of the route through the town are operating a one-way system during the works these will all revert to two- way operation on completion of the works. Hence the opportunity for traffic to give way to emergency vehicles will remain as previously," Mr Connolly stated.
When questioned about the longterm concerns of paramedics due to the decreasing road space for other vehicles to make way for emergency services, he continued:
"Certainly at some areas though the streetscape the footpaths have been widened and the carriageway narrowed. This is justified because it allows improved comfort for pedestrians in areas of heavy footfall in the town centre; for example, wheelchair users or people with prams or groups can pass each other without having to step into the carriageway.
"The carriageway, though narrowed, is nevertheless more than adequate for two-way traffic, and in places, on-street parking. A narrower carriageway has the added value of calming traffic as does tighter corner radii.
"As there is always a constraint in terms of available road space there is a design decision to be made as to how best allocate the space among competing uses," he concluded.
The works are ongoing and are due to finish in the coming months.