Limerick boreens used as 'rat runs' to avoid Adare bottleneck

Limerick boreens used as 'rat runs' to avoid Adare bottleneck

Residents in a quiet corner of Co Limerick now live in fear of dangerous heavy traffic caused by thousands of motorists who use the neighbourhood boreens as a 'rat run' to avoid Adare, one of the country's worst bottlenecks.

A series of narrow country roads designed to take local traffic is snarled up by over 2,500 motorists each day who use the twisting ditch-lined route to circumvent the N21 at Adare.

Residents living in Granagh and Morenane say it is unsafe to cycle or walk near their homes due to the level of heavy traffic and have called on the gardaí to take action to deter shortcut motorists.

And to make matters worse, US visitors flying into Shannon 'sat-nav' the route as the quickest way to Killarney and the South West.

While the 'rat run' adds about 12 miles to a journey on the N21, it saves up to 30 minutes and more.

Long tailbacks build on the N21 on each side of Adare which is scheduled to be bypassed by a €450 million motorway announced last month.

But work on the new motorway is not expected to commence for another three years with completion set for 2025.

A council traffic monitor placed on the 'rat run' section of road had a count of 2,000 vehicles per day last summer.

The shortcut goes from Lees Cross, linking to the Limerick/Cork N20 near Croom.

Cllr Richard O'Donoghue said: "The council monitoring count was held when local schools were on holidays and we now estimate the true figure at this time of year is between 2,500 and 3,000 vehicles.

"These are county roads designed to take about 250 vehicles a day. And while most are cars, you can get vans and lorries.

"People are now afraid to cycle or walk along what were once quiet rural roads. And children who would walk or cycle to school are now driven as parents fear for their safety."

Cllr O'Donoghue said the worst times for congestion are between 7am to 9am and 4pm to 7pm when people are going and coming from work in Limerick and opting to take the shortcut.

"And you have Americans whose satnav tells them its the quickest route to Killarney," the councillor said.

"There is also quite a lot of heavy lorry and van traffic. I have raised it with the gardaí and they say they will be putting on extra traffic patrols in the area."

The new motorway is being built to connect the Port of Foynes to the N20 motorway.

When completed, it will have a 16.5 km motorway from Rathkeale to the N20 near Patrickswell.

A by-pass of Adare will 'piggy-back' on this section of motorway. The €450 million plan also provides for a four-lane carriageway from Rathkeale to Foynes.

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