Two men trapped in car after crash on notorious ‘ugly mile’

TWO men were trapped in their overturned car for over half-an-hour after it crashed on Co Clare’s notorious “ugly mile” in exactly the same spot as a crash last month.

The men were travelling along the main N85 Ennis to Ennistymon in a silver Volvo S40 late on Tuesday night when the car suddenly left the road at Ballyknock, Kilnamona, and overturned onto its roof in a river.

Gardaí arrived at the scene at around 11.15pm and discovered the driver and passenger, both men in their 20s, apparently uninjured but trapped in the car.

Unable to free the occupants and concerned that the vehicle might catch fire or begin filling with water, the fire service had to be called and the road closed.

Fire personnel spent some time removing the men from the car, but they had been trapped in the vehicle for over 30 minutes before emergency crews could release them.

Neither man was said to have been seriously injured but were said to be shaken and mildly hypothermic.

The crash happened at the entrance to the home of former Clare TD and sitting county councillor James Breen, who has repeatedly called for safety measures to be introduced at the location which he has dubbed the “ugly mile”.

On July 8 last, two American tourists pulled an injured man from his car after it lost control, left the road and overturned at the exact same spot.

Just weeks earlier, a woman in her 60s was only saved from drowning in her overturned car by a passing bus driver. That collision occurred just a few hundred metres from the scene of Tuesday night’s crash but on the same stretch of road.

Cllr Breen said: “I would describe this section of the N85 as the ‘ugly mile’ and believe it is the worse stretch of national primary road in the country. It is only a matter of time until there is a fatality on this road. I have been appealing to Clare County Council and the National Roads Authority (NRA) for the last number of years to provide funding for the stretch of road.”

Clare Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway, who travels the route often on a daily basis said: “The N85 Ennis to Ennistymon road is in my view, one of the most dangerous roads in the country. It is a miracle that there hasn’t been a stream of fatalities, largely due to the poor surface and bending nature of the road.”

“Many vehicles have gone off the road, some into the river and it is my contention that the number listed in statistics is only a fraction the actual amount of vehicles that have torpedoed and become near misses. In its present state there is going to be loss of life on this road,” he said.

“I am calling on the NRA and the Minister for Transport to state exactly what their intentions are regarding resurfacing this road,” the senator added.

The roads authority has said: “We will wait to hear the details of any proposal from our engineering colleagues working for Clare County Council.”

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