Traffic volumes continue to fall as Level 5 restrictions take hold

Figures show decline in number of cars on the roads since last week

 Traffic on the M50 in Dublin in April, 2020. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Traffic on the M50 in Dublin in April, 2020. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

Traffic volumes have fallen as the current level 5 restrictions on travel take hold.

According to counters on the State’s main roads, traffic on Tuesday showed a decrease when compared with that found one week earlier on January 5th. The figures also reflected a significant decrease when compared with those before the Level 3 restrictions were put in place in October.

On the radial routes into Dublin, in comparison with Tuesday, January 5th, there was a three per cent reduction on the M50 near the West Link Bridge; a two per cent drop on the N7 at Citywest; a one per cent reduction on the M1 at Swords to Airport; a four per cent reduction on the M11 at Bray; and a one per cent drop on the M4 at Celbridge-Maynooth.

When traffic levels on January 12th were compared with those from before Level 3 restrictions were introduced in October, the reductions were more significant.

A 33 per cent drop on the M50 near the West-Link bridge; a 35 per cent drop on the M1 at Swords to Airport; a 46 per cent reduction on the M11 at Bray; a 38per cent reduction on the M4 at Celbridge-Maynooth; and a 36 per cent reduction on the N7 at Citywest.

In the case of the regional cities the changes in car traffic volumes on Tuesday, January 12th, compared with Tuesday 5th January were as follows: down 11 per cent on the M9 Waterford; two per cent on the N6 at Bóthar na dTreabh, Galway; one per cent on the N40 in Co Cork; and 1 per cent at the M7 Limerick.

In comparison with traffic volumes prior to the start of the October Level 3 restrictions, regional roads saw the following reduction:36 per cent on the N6 Bóthar na dTreabh Galway; 42 per cent on the N40 Cork; 42 per cent on the M7 Limerick; 46 per cent on the M9 Waterford.

Car traffic just south of the Border with Northern Ireland on the N1 at Jonesboro showed a decrease of 7 per cent compared with Tuesday, January 5th, and a drop of 44 per cent since before October, the last time inter-county travel across the State was allowed.

The changes in car traffic volumes since the application of October Level 3 restrictions ranges from a drop of 46 per cent on the N3 north of Belturbet to a drop of 33 per cent on the N15 south of Lifford.

However TII, which monitors the traffic flow, warned traffic volumes in the vicinity of the N2, N3, N14, N15 and N16, in the Border region, are lower than at the motorway traffic counters. As a result figures for non-motorway border roads will display wider fluctuations in traffic figures than other traffic counters.

While the number of cars on the State’s main roads has dropped significantly since the recent move to Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions, the decline is not as sharp as that seen during the first lockdown last year.

When the restrictions were first imposed on March 27th, the number of cars on the main roads initially fell by up to 70 per cent.

Volumes recovered somewhat later in the year, to within about 15 to 20 per cent of the typical figures for 2019.