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N5 Castlebar Westport Closure yesterday

Posted by Observer on September 30, 2011 at 11:03:05:

With regard to the fatal road accident that occurred on Wed night resulting in the road between Castlebar and Westport being closed at Islandeady until 12 midday yesterday, and with all due respect to the family of the victim, I am compelled to ask some questions:

1. Was it absolutely necessary to close the road for that period of time?
2. Would a National Primary route on the East coast (or the M50) be closed for over 12 hours whilst awaiting Gardai forensics to complete their job? (I would suggest no way)
3. Considering the deceased was apparently removed from the scene in the early hours of the morning, why was it necessary to keep the road completely closed for 10 hours after that?
4. Even if the scene had to be preserved, which is understandable, surely could this not have been achieved with much less disruption by using screens and tents and permitting single file alternate contra flow traffic to pass?
5. Why did it take almost 10 hours from the time of the accident for the County Council to get involved with diversion procedures and signage? (Were they not informed by the Gardai, or do they only carry out such procedures during working hours even for emergencies?)
6. Who in the Garda decided that diverting ALL traffic including HGV's and Buses, off a National Primary route down the regional roads around Islandeady was a satisfactory solution?
7. Is there any consideration given by the Gardai in deciding to close a National Primary Route like this, apart from the huge disruption it causes, the huge actual cost in time delays and extra travel for lots and lots of commuters.
8. Do the Gardai (and the Council) actually have contingency plans in place for traffic managment to deal with the prolonged closure of National Primary routes in the county and are they going to implement any changes to these by learning from the mistakes made yesterday?

Finally, I was going to address these questions directly in a letter to the local Chief Superintendent, but, I was dubious whether A. The Garda would even deem it warranting a response from them or a justification of their handling of the situation and B. As to what the actual response might be, whether it might actually result in a focusing of Garda resources on me personally as oppossed to the issue.

For similar reasons I felt it was equally pointless to address my concerns on the issue to any of the County Councillors. Therefore I am posting it here in the hope of some public debate and who knows it may even elicit a response from the Garda or Councillors via this or other media (that might hopefully opt to run with this issue too).

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