Sat-navs and maps lead truck drivers astray in Kerry

Drivers of heavy goods vehicles are “going astray” when maps and satellite navigational systems direct them through tunnels and bog roads in south Kerry.

A recent meeting of Kerry County Council heard that the N71 between Killarney and Kenmare — a narrow and winding road with a tunnel — should give way on maps and satellite navigation systems to the regional R569 via Kilgarvan — a wider and straighter road of superior surface, and more suitable for HGVs.

Both the Ordnance Survey of Ireland and satellite navigational companies are now being asked to take account of the anomaly on the N71 as a matter of urgency.

Vegetation has overgrown the signs warning of the 4m height restriction on the N71 route, and this compounds the problem, Cllr Dan McCarthy (Ind) said.

On two successive days last week he came across left-hand-drive articulated trucks trying to reverse before the rock tunnel: “The council needs to get onto the sat-nav companies to redirect articulated trucks away from the N71.”

Gardaí in Killarney believe the problem arises when drivers of heavy goods vehicles key in the ‘shortest route’ option on their navigational systems and are directed onto the N71. “Mainly it’s continental drivers,” said Sgt Dermot O’Connell.

Johnny Healy-Rae said the issue predates sat-navs and he believes the solution rests with Ordnance Survey of Ireland: “Before there was ever such a thing as a sat-nav, lorries were coming that way out of Killarney and when a left-hand drive truck would get stuck, the driver would produce the map and say ‘this is the national route’.”

He is not looking for a reclassification of the better regional road through his home village of Kilgarvam because that would create difficulties in terms of planning permissions, but said that on the ordnance survey maps, the regional road should be highlighted as more navigable.

John Francis Flynn (FF) a councillor on the northern part of the Ring of Kerry says there are similar problems near the fishing village of Cromane off the N72. Huge fish trucks are following the “quicker” option and “going astray” by being brought down the boggy lake road and having to reverse a quarter of a mile, he said.

Meanwhile, OSI says sat-nav providers do not use OSI data. Bridge heights are indicated on OSI maps wherever the information has been provided by Irish Rail.

The council is to write to various departments to contact the satellite navigational companies and is also to ask the Ordnance Survey of Ireland to signal the issue on the N71.


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