Mayo County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII ) are proposing an 80 kilometre per hour speed limit through Breaffy village. Over the past numbers of years, the issue of speeding motorists through Breaffy has been an ongoing concern for local residents.
Breaffy Community Council outlined: "Over the years, there have been numerous accidents in and around Breaffy village and some people have tragically lost their lives. There have been considerable efforts in recent years to resolve the issue, but to no avail.
"In the last two years, Breaffy Community Council have had various discussions with these authorities and others, to attempt to broker a solution.
"Breaffy Community Council undertook a detailed retrospective review of past reports, past accidents and with the assistance of An Garda Siochana and some Mayo county councillors, a report was submitted to TII in November 2019, requesting that they re-examine the ongoing dangers in Breaffy village.
"They consented to this and a detailed review was undertaken in the early part of 2020 and a report on its findings was issued in February 2021.
"The overall report is quite detailed and examines two options, a 60kmh speed limit and an 80kmh speed limit. In their report, TII state that the 60kmh would cost approximately €3 million and would slow traffic to ‘an inordinate extent’.
"They state costs involved would include traffic calming gateways, kerbing of traffic lanes, provision of a pedestrian crossing adjacent to the school, pedestrian and cycle facilities on both sides of the road and street lighting.
"TII state that the 80kmh option would cost approximately €1 million and that traffic would be ‘slowed to an acceptable extent’.
"The 80kmh option would include a 60kmh limit at school opening and closing times and flashing lights at these times, to warn incoming and outgoing traffic; a pedestrian crossing close to the eastern entrance to Breaffy House; an island at the pedestrian crossing; the road between the two entrances into Breaffy House will be reduced in width from 3.5 metres to 3 metres.
"The hard shoulder at the Church and on the Breaffy House side will be converted into a kerbed green area; bus stops will be provided for on the Breaffy House side near the pedestrian crossing and near the west entrance to Breaffy House on the Church side and there will be a dedicated cycle lane/pathway from Curry's shop all the way to Kilkenny Cross."
Chairperson of Breaffy Community Council, MJ Reddington, said the feedback they received was a strong preference from both authorities for the 80kmh option.
"The feedback we have received is that the allocation of €1 million/80kmh option is certain to be obtained while the possibility of the TII allocating €3 million for a 60kmh option at the present time is remote," he said.
"The advantage of this option, if agreed by all concerned, is that it is nearly certain to commence in early 2022 as it will have to be incorporated into the new N60/N5 junction at Drumaleheen, as part of the overall Westport to Turlough road project, and will be completed before the new N5 dual carriageway is opened, which is envisaged to be in September 2022," he added.
A model of this proposal will be posted opposite The Shamrock Bar from next week and anyone who has any queries can put them into a dedicated box beside the display and a member of Breaffy Community Council will come back to them.
"Breaffy Community Council recognise that the 80kmh option as its enhanced safety measures will make Breafffy a much safer place to live in," said Mr Reddington
"TII have indicated that the 80kmh is the only option on the table at this moment in time but obviously, the 60kmh option could be considered in the future if needed.”
Mr Reddington added that running hand-in-hand with these discussions, Breaffy Community Council have been negotiating with Coillte and Mayo County Council to secure finance for a walkway through Breaffy woods. Funding of approximately €120,000 has been allocated to do this. Work will commence on this project in June of this year and will be completed by summer of 2022.
"Many people have walked these woods down through the years and indeed many locals would be aware of its historical resonance, and once complete, this will be an incredible amenity to all in the area for all, including guests in Breaffy House Hotel.
"The paths that are there presently will be enhanced, as well as extending new routes through the woods with various entry and exit points. There will be extensive signage and seating areas and it will become a wonderland for young and old alike," added Mr Reddington.