‘Time-over-distance’ speed cameras set to be extended nationally

TII, RSA and the Garda working on national deployment of cameras, says TII chief

Time-over-distance speed cameras monitor vehicles at two distinct points a set distance apart and note the exact time a vehicle passes each camera. Photograph: Alan Betson

Time-over-distance speed cameras are to be extended nationally, the chief executive of State road builder Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has said.

Peter Walsh told members of the Oireachtas transport committee that TII, the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána were working on the roll out of the cameras.

Time-over-distance speed cameras monitor vehicles at two distinct points a set distance apart and note the exact time a vehicle passes each camera. The operation allows gardaí to accurately calculate the speed of the vehicle.

For example, if Point A and Point B are set 120km apart, a vehicle on a motorway with a 120km/h limit can legally cover that distance in one hour when travelling at the maximum speed. If a motorist takes less than one hour to travel the distance, then they would be liable for a fine and penalty points.

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Mr Walsh told the committee there were currently just two national roads where speed-over-distance was in place – the Dublin Tunnel and near Birdhill on the M7 in Co Tipperary.

He said he has regular meetings with the assistant garda commissioner Paula Hilman and Road Safety Authority chief executive Sam Waide in relation to road safety. In relation to speed-over-distance, he said TII was involved only to provide the infrastructure for siting the cameras.

He said the process required a large number of personnel to operate the system and gather evidence, but he added the three agencies were “looking at how that may be deployed nationally”.

“It is something we are working closely with the Garda and the RSA on,” he said.

Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe asked Mr Walsh to consider whether speed limits should be reduced at a number of junctions on the motorway network, which he said were dangerous.

He particularly instanced Junction 13 on the M18 in Co Clare where he said a number of fatal crashes had taken place. He said the problem seemed to be because the junction was designed at a time when the road was a national road, with speed limit of 100km/h. The road had since been redesignated as a motorway, but he said there was “almost a 90 degree exit” from the motorway.

It was he said, one of a handful of “awful junctions” on the motorway network. Mr Crowe said the Athlone bypass was another example of a place where poor junctions were in place, and this appeared to have been addressed by having a lower speed limit.

He asked Mr Walsh to consider, as an interim measure, if the speed limit could be reduced around such junctions”.

Mr Walsh said it could be looked at. He also told the committee exchequer grants of €298 million would be available for current and capital road protection and renewal works this year. He said €97 million was being provided to TII for payments to operators of public-private partnerships that are already in operation.

In relation to new roads, the exchequer capital grants amount to €147 million this year. For greenways, the funding is to be €72 million, he said.

The committee also heard the financial allocations mentioned in Budget 2024 would result in individual grants to local authorities which would be published before the end of the month.

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Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist