Local representatives have urged patience as the new one-way traffic system in Athlone experienced some teething problems during its first week in existence.
Motorists travelling from the west side of the town reported heavy traffic congestion coming on to the new Orange Loop system, particularly from Athlone Castle to the new lights at St Vincent’s Hospital, which had been identified by motorists and some local councillors as a location of concern in the weeks leading up to the system.
Motorists also reported longer than usual tailbacks approaching The Crescent junction along the Ballymahon road, particularly during morning rush hour.
Many people took to social media to vent their frustrations at the delays, with some claiming that the project is doomed to failure, with others urging patience as people adapt to the system and engineers tweak traffic light sequences.
Responding to these concerns, Mayor Aengus O’Rourke assured the public that the scheme was considered and deliberated on for 12 months with independent traffic and road engineers before being implemented.
“The scheme will work and it will transform Athlone for the better,” said the mayor. “I would ask people to give it a chance, allow it to bed in and please bear with any traffic disruption or delays in the short term as the scheme is implemented.”
The one-way system is one part of a €3 million regeneration project that aims to revitalise the centre of Athlone and make Church Street a more welcoming and pedestrian-friendly space.
Further enhancement works are due to begin on Church Street in the coming weeks, and are expected to continue for 10 months.