Councillors have rejected a proposal by Westmeath County Council to relocate a junction at Macetown north of Mullingar, on the grounds that the work is unnecessary and that the money would be better spent on realigning other sections of the N52 road.
The council was proposing the relocation of the existing N52/L5605 junction at Macetown to a point approximately 500 metres west of its present location, in accordance with the advice of the National Roads Authority.
Director of services Barry Kehoe said the current junction was unsafe as the right turn lane is frequently used by motorists to overtake before they get to the unrealigned section of the N52. The proposal would allow the council to remove the right turn lane and add a broken white line so motorists could overtake safely.
NRA funding was already in place, he added.
However, the proposal received no support, with several councillors objecting strongly.
“The Mullingar area members have serious reservations. An increase in traffic management and local signage and lighting to make the existing junction as safe as possible would solve the problem, and the expense would be better spent on realigning other sections,” said Cllr Denis Leonard.
“The people of the area are used to the junction, and changing it could result in accidents,” added Cllr Mick Dollard.
Cllr Frank McDermott agreed that the money would be better spent elsewhere on the N52.
“We should spend whatever the figure is on the parts of the road already pegged out for widening - on making the road better on the next section.”
The council will now engage in further discussion with the NRA.