Parents and teachers at Claregalway primary school are calling for traffic calming measures and a pedestrian crossing to be provided to prevent further accidents happening on the busy stretch of road on which the school is situated.
Parents of pupils attending the 350 pupil facility spearheaded a traffic awareness initiative on approach roads to it last week.
Its aim was to make motorists aware of the dangerous situation outside the school which is situated on the busy N18, explains school principal Pat Coen.
They plan to repeat the exercise at regular intervals in a bid to heighten awareness about the risks and slow down traffic.
Despite the fact that the school is situated inside a 50km/hr speed zone, traffic continues to speed past the school in a “dangerous manner,” he says.
“Traffic coming from the village of Claregalway begins to speed up as it leaves the village while traffic coming from the Oranmore side continuously ignores speed limit signs and flashing lights.”
Local residents in the housing estates across from the school have catalogued a number of serious accidents and near misses in the past year. While many of these accidents happened outside school hours parents are worried that a serious accident will occur during school time.
The school’s board of management and local representatives are working with Galway County Council to try to alleviate the problem, according to the school principal. Traffic calming measures and a pedestrian crossing are top priorities, he says.
Claregalway has been at the centre of mounting concerns over traffic risks. In the most recent incident which hit the headlines a 20-tonne juggernaut left the road and ploughed into the grounds of Cregmore primary school about three miles outside Claregalway village as children from the infant classes were being collected in the afternoon by their parents.
The school’s principal said it was a miracle that no-one was killed in the accident in which five people were hospitalised and almost a dozen cars destroyed. The road at Cregmore Cross has been described as a popular rat-run between the N18 and N63 roads allowing commuters to avoid the congestion of Claregalway village.