THE visually-impaired and those with mobility problems should find Ireland’s newest road the safest to cross.
The €35 million northern relief road in Midleton, Co Cork, was opened to traffic yesterday and comes with some unique safety features that will particularly benefit pedestrians.
Visually-impaired people can press pedestrian push button units that will tell them about the number of lanes ahead and inform them of the direction of oncoming traffic.
Meanwhile, dimples or "blisters" on colour-coded tactile paving are aligned to guide them directly to the other side.
"In a suburban environment like this, they are top of our priority list and the cars come at the bottom in terms of road users that we are facilitating," said Cork County Council senior engineer, John Lapthorne.
For people in wheelchairs or those pushing buggies, there is a smooth, low-gradient surface between the path and the road at crossing points.
Dedicated cycle lanes, which are segregated from the main traffic, run along each side of the road.
The high cost of the 1.6km road reflected the price of land in urban areas.
The cost of acquiring the land was double that of the construction costs.
Part of the reason the road was developed was to allow easy access to the railway station in town, which will be opened later this year to coincide with the re-opening of the Cork-Midleton commuter rail service.