Councillors in the Ballina Municipal District have expressed split views on the idea of asking Transport Infrastructure Ireland to return the speed limit on the N58 Ballyvary to Foxford road to 100kmh.
Fine Gael Councillor John O’Hara proposed at this week’s monthly meeting of the Municipal District that speed limit be increased from 80kmh as the lower speed was “bad for business in Ballina."
Cllr O’Hara stated: “We have the likes of Coke and Hollister in Ballina and this stretch of road is the way they are coming and to have them coming down to 80kmh is not a good idea. It’s a complaint the people of Ballina have because it is a main link to the town from Castlebar.”
Independent Councillor Gerry Ginty disagreed with Cllr O’Hara’s motion, stating: “I don’t think that road needs to be any more than 80kmh and how in the holy god it could affect business in Ballina.
"How a safety reduction of the speed on a road 10 or 15 miles from Ballina, I don’t know how it could. There is no desire amongst the people of Ballina, well maybe a few who might have an irrational fear of the reduction of the speed limit, that wants to put people’s lives in danger.”
Cllr O’Hara’s Fine Gael party colleague Neil Cruise, who originally proposed the reduction in the speed limit two years ago, also opposed to the motion. “Transport Infrastructure Ireland recommended we drop that speed limit down to 80kmh for safety reasons. It is 11.7km from Foxford to Ballyvary and there is no way anybody could do that going 100kmh the entire way and arrive at either end safely," Cllr Cruise said. "One of those online timers over distance shows that doing that stretch of road at 100kmh means you will travel it a minute and a half quicker, that’s three minutes on a round trip. Anybody who cannot accept it taking that much longer probably shouldn’t be on the road.”
The new Cathaoirleach of the Ballina Municipal District, Cllr Michael Smyth, accepted there was arguments on both sides of the motion and didn’t let it go any further, noting that there was no reason to waste council time voting on it.