Overhaul of speed limits in Co Cork

Major changes are planned for speed limits throughout Co Cork which could see new restrictions in several areas, notably in West Cork where main roads are narrower.

A number of roads with 100km per hour limits are reportedly totally unsuitable in places for such speeds, and plans are being made to address these issues and enhance road safety.

In particular, it’s expected a number of sections of so-called major routes in West Cork will be affected.

After a comprehensive study, a number of recommendations are to be made about issuing new by-laws on speed limits and the public will have its say.

It’s expected some sections of national roads in the county which are considered to be accident-prone areas will have their speed limits reduced from 100km/h to 80km/h.

The same is expected to apply to some regional roads and speed limits may be reduced in several urban areas.

The county council is in the process of introducing a pilot scheme in 37 estates where speed limits are being lowered to 30km/h.

More housing estates are likely to follow in due course.

Tom Stritch, the council director of road services, said guidelines were being given to the local authority by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (formerly the NRA), which could be an issue, especially in West Cork.

In a report given to council members, Mr Stritch said: “The condition in the guidelines requiring the blanket limit of 80km/hr on all roads less than 7 metres in width will be an issue in West Cork where many regional roads of width less than 7m were reclassified to 100km/hr in the last review.”

The council is to ask for submissions from the gardaí, its own councillors and engineers in the coming weeks.

Municipal district councils will initially review the submissions received and draft bylaws will be prepared.

Mr Stritch said a public consultation phase will then follow after the draft by-laws are advertised, put up on the council’s website and made available in hard copies at county council offices.

No date has yet been given for when this will happen, but after it does, written objections can be made by the public within the following 30 days.

When any objections have been considered, a second draft of bylaws will be put before a meeting of councillors in County Hall who will decide on the final outcome.

Mr Stritch said the date currently specified by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport for the completion of this process is next April.

He delivered the report following a request for information from Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF).

“Excessive speed is an enormous problem on our roads and it is vital that appropriate speed limits are in place to match the road conditions,” Cllr McGrath said.

“Unfortunately, many local and minor roads do not have an appropriate speed limit, particularly those with the default 80 km/h speed limit in place.”

He welcomed news that a countywide speed limit review will commence in the coming weeks which will allow the council to address some of these anomalies.

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