The Ardboley junction on the Balla-Claremorris road. Image from Google Maps

Greater urgency now to tackle notorious Mayo accident black spot

TRANSPORT Infrastructure Ireland (TII) are being urged yet again to improve safety at an accident black spot in Balla.

With proposals for a new walkway from Ardboley back into the town, there is concern that walkers and cyclists using the route will be at risk from passing traffic.

Residents using and living beside the notorious junction on the N60 Balla to Claremorris road have been asking TII to reduce the speed limit to 50km/h and introduce traffic calming for a number of years.

In the latest accident, a large portion of the wall at the home of Dr. Jim Broderick was demolished when a vehicle crossed the road and crashed.

Traffic approaching Balla from the Claremorris side also crashes on the left, going straight through the junction itself, and the concern is that if the junction issues aren't rectified, if the pathway runs along there, it will leave pedestrians at risk.

A feasibility study for the pathway is due to be completed in September and local Councillor Donna Sheridan and Dr. Broderick say the overall safety picture has to be addressed for once and for all as part of that.

If not, this development, while much needed, is just adding another dimension to the danger that already exists at Ardboley.

Work is due to start soon on a new pathway on a section from the old Beaten Path premises, heading towards Balla.

The feasibility study for an extension to that relates to the local SAC area and back into the town, which includes the Ardboley junction.

Greenway developments such as this now come under the remit of TII, who have been consulting with land owners.

The problem at Ardboley, explained Dr. Broderick, is that cars coming from Claremorris fail to take the bend and either plough through the junction or across the road.

Despite there being 'crash after crash', nothing has happened to improve safety.

He has had to rebuild his wall at least four times.

The speed limit was reduced to 80km/h and signage and lights were put up, so that it resembles 'Times Square', but people don't tend to adhere to the speed limit and the reality is that people in the area are waiting for a fatality to occur, he said.

He and Councillor Sheridan agree that unless the issues with the road are addressed by TII, you would be creating a dangerous environment for people walking into the village on a new pathway at a location where accidents are happening on a regular basis.

Traffic calming and the feasibility study go hand in hand, said Councillor Sheridan, and it all needs to be addressed at the same time.

This is an opportunity that TII have got to take, to reduce the speed, put in traffic calming, and improve the roadway itself, which appears to be compounding the issue, she said.