Report identifies most dangerous roads


Long stretches of single carriageway roads in Ireland continue to be a major safety danger, a report published today has found.

The European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP) report 2008, which was presented to Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey this afternoon, contains the results of an analysis of the safety performance of 7,600km of routes - 5,400 in the Republic and 2,200 in Northern Ireland.

The majority of Ireland's roads, a further 90,000 kilometres of smaller roads, were not examined for the report.

The survey found that although Ireland has made progress building motorways and dual carriageways, and has fixed the worst of the country’s single carriageways in the last few years, stretches of single carriageway remain a serious challenge for road authorities on both sides of the Border.

Nearly 95 per cent of Ireland’s deaths and serious injuries happen on single carriageway roads. EuroRAP has used statistics from 2002 to 2006 to describe which single carriageways are the worst.

The report identifies 350kms of ‘Red – Medium to High Risk’ sections, and ten ‘Medium-High Risk’ links, comprising 147 kms.

All of these 10 links are single carriageways, and the longest of these sections is the 25km stretch of the Ballina to Dromore West road in Co Mayo on which 60 people have been killed or injured over the four years to 2006.

The ten at-risk roads in the Republic are the M1 to Border, Co Louth; N2 Monaghan to Border, Co Monaghan; N14 Border to N13, Co Donegal; N59 Ballina to Dromore West, Co Mayo; N5 Longford to Cloonsgannagh, Co Longford; N67 Ennistymon to Miltown Malbay, Co Clare; N62 Templemore to Roscrea, Co Tipperary; N81 Closh Cross to Tullow, Co Carlow; N72 Castletownroche to Fermoy, Co Cork; and N30 Enniscorthy to Jamestown, Co Wexford. These roads have been prioritised for NRA work.

In 2005 the EuroRAP report found 96km of the network in the Republic was classified as ‘Black – High Risk’, but all those links have now been repaired, and overall the 2008 report finds that there are no ‘High Risk’ sections on the network.

The report also publishes the results of the first developmental Star Rating assessment for Irish roads to provide a guide on how much protection the road will provide a driver losing control of a vehicle.

Star ratings from one to four are assigned to the road network, with a one star road being the lowest category.

The EuroRap report found that 58 per cent of Ireland's one star roads were rated medium to high-risk. The report said 1 or 2 star rated roads in the Republic were primarily older sections of the network that had not been designed to modern standards.

Newer sections of the Irish road network, such as motorways, faired better with 85.5 per cent of these roads receiving a 4 star rating - the highest available - and 14.5 per cent a 3 star rating.

In the North, the roads identified by EuroRAP as most needing work are the A2 Glenariff to Ballycastle Co Antrim; A3 Moira to Lisburn, Co Antrim; A29Moneymore Road to Kingsbridge, Co Tyrone; A50 Portadown to Banbridge, Co Armagh; A54 Castledawson to Kilrea, Co Derry; and A509 Enniskillen to Border, Co Fermanagh.