The N2 north of Ardee has been described as “lethal” by the man behind a petition pushing to have junctions on the road made safer for road users. Trevor Kerley says someone will on the stretch of the road and “unfortunately, it will be someone we know.”
Earlier this month, local man Kerley set up an online petition which he hopes will pressure authorities to provide safety improvements at the three right hand turnoffs around Cookstown and Charlestown. It has been the scene of a whole host of near fatal accidents in recent years – and an unquantifiable number of near misses occur on a daily basis.
To date, 212 people have signed the online petition whilst a further 250 signatures have been obtained offline – bringing the total number of signatories to nearly 500. Kerley plans to present the petition to representatives from Ardee Municipal District and Louth County Council early next month.
The move comes after work has been completed in installing filter lanes on the Cookstown Cross – the middle of three right turn junctions – earlier this month. Whilst locals welcome the work, they want this to be just the start. Louth County Council have surveyed all three junctions but say work was undertaken on Cookstown Cross because it is the busiest of the three. They say funding shortages mean only one cross can be enhanced for now.
“There have been a couple of very bad accidents in the last number of years,” Kerley says. His cousin was among those involved in a horrific collision on the road. “It’s a big long stretch of road and anyone who is not familiar with the road just comes down there at 70-80 miles per hour, passes everyone out and you trying to turn right.
“They have put a filter lane in at Cookstown there – the middle one – and the work done already is 100%. But that has to happen at all three crosses. It’s going to be so much safer. I don’t live on the road but that’s the cross I take now.
“They’re saying now it’s the busiest one, that’s why they’ve done that one. They (LouthCoCo) say the others aren’t busy enough for it. But every person who tries to turn down that road is as important as the next person,” he continued.
“Most of the accidents happen at the first one or the third one – there’s been one accident at the one they’ve done. There’s been two or three at the first one and four or five at the third one. It’s a lethal road. That’s why we said we’d start fighting for it again. There was a petition done a few years ago but nothing came of it.
Kerley says that with Cookstown improved, local campaigners remain hopeful that they can work towards getting the other crossroads dealt with too. “If we keep at it,” he says.
Local councillors and TDs have been in the area, helping residents and road users and listening to their concerns. On Wednesday, Fergus O’Dowd said, “Many constituents (have) raised their concerns on certain junctions not receiving adequate safety road signage or islands. I immaediately contacted Louth County Council Infrastructure and Transport Infrastructure Ireland to relay those concerns and requested for them to consider making necessary changes whilst the contractors are on the site.”
Despite help from local representatives, there is a frustration that after Louth County Council surveyed the area, the decision was taken to only improve one junction.
“They said they hadn’t the finances and the other two were not busy enough to justify it. It’s just a box in the middle of the road with a bit of paint. It shouldn’t be a money issue,” petitioner Kerley said.
M”y wife doesn’t go on that road anymore. Near misses are guaranteed, there’s a good few every day. It’s constant. Speed is an issue and it’s a great big long stretch. There’s nothing – except a little yellow sign – to tell you there’s a road to the right and not to pass. Not even an arrow painted on the road. People see the big long stretch and put the foot down.
“Anyone getting hurt round there are all local, he continued. “All the people who are stopping and turning there are local. There’s going to be someone killed on the road and unfortunately it’s going to be someone we know. That’s how bad that road is.
“Why can they do one junction and not do the other two? ”
You can sign Trevor Kerley’s petition to increase safety for road users at the Cookstown and Charlestown turnoffs by clicking here.