Sunday, 30 December 2007

Traffic 'choke points' could cripple capital

The Automobile Association (AA) has identified eight key traffic choke points which have the potential to bring Dublin to a standstill in minutes.

The agency has pinpointed the sites following recent incidents, in one of which Dublin came to a standstill, with traffic delays clogging traffic back as far as Swords on the M1, after a truck overturned near the Point Depot near the East Link toll bridge.

The choke points they identified are:

l M50 motorway

l North and south quays

along the Liffey

l Pearse Street

l East Link toll bridge

l Port Tunnel

l Red Cow roundabout

l Swords Road

l Doyle's Corner in


Tressan McCambridge of AA Roadwatch says that Dublin commuters are particularly vulnerable to road foul-ups because they are so car-dependent.

"The fact that we are so car-dependent and have a serious problem with over-capacity on our roads means that it's all down to luck when it comes to getting stuck in traffic jams. The current lack of public transport options also means that people have very little choice but to travel by car.

"And if a vehicle breaks down, it could take a half an hour to clear it, or it could take hours, and those delays will linger and have a knock on effect.

"Some days we can be lucky and other days the traffic situation can be disastrous."

This was clearly illustrated recently, when it took six hours to remove a truck that overturned near the Point Depot, resulting in a major traffic backlog in the Port Tunnel and on the M1. North Wall Quay and East Wall road were also badly hit as a result of the incident.

The accident provoked Fine Gael to call for an emergency traffic plan for the capital, while the party's transport spokesman, Fergus O'Dowd TD, has described the traffic situation in Dublin as balancing on a knife edge.

"The traffic in Dublin is appalling and we have an inadequate organisation to deal with it.

"The fact that one vehicle can bring the whole city to a halt is frankly unacceptable and it just highlights the lack of proper traffic management.

"I think it is something that you might expect to see in a third-world country," he said. "Obviously, the economy has grown over the past few years -- but the public transport system and infrastructure hasn't kept pace with the demand."

There has been 150 per cent growth in traffic since 1993, with an extra 300,000 cars present in Dublin in the past five years alone.

Meanwhile, the publication of the Dublin Transport Authority Bill is expected soon.

Irish Independent

No comments: