Councillors push to extend HGV ban on smaller roads

A councillor has called for a HGV ban on a rural Westmeath road after suggesting there were stretches of it so bad “you could get car sick”.

Cllr Colm Arthur was speaking of the old R400 Mullingar-Rochfortbridge road which he claimed a local contractor was using with his lorries “after saying he wouldn’t”.

The councillor made this claim at this week’s meeting of the Kilbeggan area committee after receiving a number of complaints from constituents about the increased truck traffic on the stretch of road in the Clonlost townland.

“There was a lot of work done on this road in 2013 and it can’t take the weight. There is an alternative route [the recently opened N52 extension]. We have to ask for a ban on this [R400] road. Whatever arrangements there are, they’re not working,” said the councillor.

Cllr Joe Flanagan, weighed in in support of Cllr Arthur and, as chairman of the Roads Strategic Policy Committee (SPC ) at the council, told the meeting this week that the exclusion of five-axle vehicles “had been discussed at the SPC”.

“There is only one major HGV user [on this road]. Discussions were held, and assurances were given,” he said, before pointing out that the county council were to have held a survey on the R400 to get an exact handle on its traffic numbers.

“Something will have to be done to see where we go from here,” agreed Hugh O’Reilly, the director of services for the area.

‘The people of Rochfortbridge will tell you it’s widespread,” said Cllr Arthur.

“The [traffic] survey will remove the element of ‘he said, she said’. It’s safe to say there is a common consensus around this table as to the outcome of this,” said Cllr Paul Daly.

Cllr Gerry Corcoran reminded the meeting that there was a similar ban in the Ballymore area that worked.

“It was policed by signage and the Gardaí, and the signage is authorised by the SPC,” he pointed out.

Cllr Arthur pressed for an outright ban on heavy vehicles on the R400, but Hugh O’Reilly urged the councillors to at least wait until the traffic survey was completed.

However, he agreed the subject of this ban should be added to the next SPC agenda.


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