Ensuring drivers give way may be bridge too far

Caragh Bridge, Kerry: Road rage incidents on the single-lane bridge.

He who has the bridge holds the bridge.

That is the advice of council officials following an increasing number of road rage incidents on an old stone bridge on the Ring of Kerry.

Caragh Bridge over the River Caragh on the N70 Killorglin to Glenbeigh road, is passable by one car only at a time.

Motorists judge for themselves when the bridge is clear and when to proceed.

However, local Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Cahill said people are not waiting and are not giving way and are rushing the bridge, even when cars are on it.

It is not working. I have heard of numerous incidents and I myself have seen people get out of their cars,” he said.

He said that while the bridge, on a busy national secondary road, should be two-way, it is not possible to widen it as it is a very old bridge.

Cars are “squaring up, bang-smack in the middle of the bridge”, he said, and people have got out of their cars shouting at each other and many tourists are confused about who has the right of way.

Mr Cahill believes there is not enough signage indicating that the road narrows down to just one lane.

The matter is now one of “health and safety” and signage and other road markings are needed, he said.

Because it is a national secondary road, Transport Infrastructure Ireland is in charge of allocating funds. However, it is up to Kerry County Council to apply for those funds.

In a written reply, engineers have told Mr Cahill there is “a comprehensive signage scheme” currently providing information to road users “that this bridge on the N70 National Secondary Route narrows to a single lane”.

“The final signs at either end of the bridge indicate that motorists must yield to traffic on the bridge,” the council has told him. “Placing further signs will not improve the flow of traffic at this bridge.”

However, Mr Cahill says he disagrees with the reply and something will have to be done as the number of incidents is increasing.

Meanwhile, the council said it will continue to lobby for funding for resurfacing sections of the Ring of Kerry route in south Kerry.

The entrance to Caherdaniel village is in a very bad state, a meeting of the South and West Municipal District was told.

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