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Light at end of tunnel for residents of Ennis district

AFTER years of campaigning residents of Corrovorrin “see light at the end of the tunnel” with confirmation that a mini roundabout is set to be installed on the Tulla Road, writes Jessica Quinn.

It is expected this will mean an end to frustratingly long delays for residents trying to exit Kevin Barry Avenue onto the busy Tulla Road.

A special meeting of the Ennis Municipal District heard details of the plans for a Low Cost Safety Scheme on the junction with Kevin Barry Avenue at Corrovorrin.

The improved junction layout on the R352 will facilitate “safer access and egress from Kevin Barry Ave” through a mini roundabout, removal of parking spaces, installation of bollards, refurbishment of road lining and marking and realignment of footpaths, the local authority has outlined.

Speaking after the meeting in which councillors gave the plan their backing, local resident Tom Verling said, “This is absolutely brilliant, it’s been a long time coming, going back to the days of the town council when there was approval got for works in 2004, but there were objections.

“We had signatures from 294 people in Corrovorrin itself calling to get this job done and after years of campaigning at long last we see light at the end of the tunnel.”

According to John Gannon, senior executive engineer the works are set to begin “fairly soon”.

He confirmed that the project will necessitate the removal of car parking spaces in front of Tierney’s shop.

The council had initially sought to keep these spaces, but a safety audit showed sight distances would be compromised and there would be an “inherent risk,” Mr Gannon stated.

In lieu of the lost parking at Tierney’s, additional car parking is to be provided on Kevin Barry Avenue by setting back the community garden and rebuilding the boundary wall. This is being done with the consent of Tierney’s and the local community.

A report on the plans discussed at the meeting outlined that in 2020 the Road Design Office was requested by the Ennis MD to apply to the Department of Transport, for funding for a road safety improvement measure for Corrivorrin Junction on the R352.

“Within the existing junction configuration long delays were being experienced by traffic exiting Kevin Barry Avenue onto the R352, the Tulla Road. In 2021 the DoT provided funding for a safety improvement measure at this junction as part of the Schedule of Municipal District Works 2021,” the report stated.

Three design options were considered as part of the feasibility assessment. The options considered were: signaling the junction; the mini roundabout; left hand turning exit from Kevin Barry Avenue only; or providing a junction clearway with VMS signs.

A number of submissions were received and it was considered that the mini roundabout option was the most viable option.

After considering the submissions it was decided that double yellow lines be incorporated into the design on the left-hand side of Kevin Barry Avenue across from Tierney’s Shop.

It is planned to provide a pedestrian crossing at the eastern side of the railway bridge from the junction. This is being is being examined as part of a separate scheme. A construction management plan will be carried out in advance of the construction works.

Welcoming the project, Councillor Johnny Flynn described the campaign to improve the junction as “a saga nearly as long as the Late Late Show”.

“There is only one way in and out of the area, residents are getting older and more vulnerable and there is heavier traffic.

“A lot of residents have lost their feeling of independence of being able to go into town because of the danger,” he said.

Councillor Flynn acknowledged the support from the project from John Tierney of Tierney’s Shop, saying he is committed to the health and safety of his staff, neighbours and the wider population while also having obligations to his staff and suppliers as a businessman.

He expressed the hope that the design will allow Tierney’s to continue to support local jobs.

Councillor Mary Howard commented, “It’s been a long time coming, it’s going on since Moses was a lad,” adding that residents will be “breathing a big sigh of relief”.

She stressed that communication between the council and residents is vital in moving the project forward.

“It’s a great day for Corrovorrin and Kevin Barry Avenue,” said Councillor Pat Daly. “People are ringing regularly about it, they could be at the junction for five minutes waiting to get out, there’s total frustration.”

He added his belief that, “Tierney’s shop will still do the business”. Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy commented, “It’s a pity it took so much time to get here” adding she is “looking forward to seeing it materialise sooner rather than later”.

Councillor Mark Nestor acknowledged the work of council engineers and the roads section saying “this is a very welcome development”.

Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Ann Norton praised the “time and commitment” local residents have put into this, John Tierney for working with the council and the local authority team working on the project.

“Hopefully this will resolve issues around the junction and will keep people safe,” she said.

Mr Gannon told the meeting that the project will be “monitored along the way”. He accepted that the works would impact on Tierney’s shop saying “hopefully the measures introduced will mitigate this”.

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