A number of Castlebar councillors have called on the NRA to put in a number of right hand turning junctions on the N5 between Castlebar and Turlough. Cllr Michael Kilcoyne raised the issue through a notice of motion, looking for traffic calming measures to be put in place at the turn into the Abbeybreaffy nursing home for those travelling from Castlebar. Cllr Kilcoyne told the meeting, “I’m not looking for the road to be widened, it’s wide enough as it is. All it will cost is the gallon of paint to put the markings down on the road.” His motion received universal support from the other members, with Cllr Henry Kenny asking that consideration also be given to something similar to the turn into the Church of Ireland church in Turlough a few miles further out the road.
Anne Sweeney, senior executive engineer for Mayo County Council, told the meeting that turning lanes like those were done in conjunction with the NRA, the Gardai, and road safety professionals, where a number of factors are considered including the number of accidents at locations.
Cllr Kilcoyne told the meeting that a number of accidents had taken place at the turn to Abbeybreaffy and Cllr Kenny indicated that at the turn to the Church of Ireland there had also been a number of accidents. Cllr Kilcoyne said that most of the accidents were minor and would not have been reported to the Gardai, and even when minor accidents are reported, the Gardai tell people to sort it out between themselves and they will not be recorded.
Cllr Cyril Burke asked if it would be possible for the council to set up a low cost phone line for people to report accidents rather than to the Gardai and for the council executive to investigate whether the NRA would use such a service as evidence of accidents taking place.
Director of services for Mayo County Council Seamus Granahan told the meeting that he could not see the NRA taking such a system into account when deciding these things as it had to use the official figures that come from the Gardai. He also pointed out that if a turning junction was put in place for each of the six turns off the N5 between Castlebar and Turlough, this would be a continuous white line where no overtaking could take place as each turning junction comes with a stretch of continuous white line on either side of it.