Road works spark fear of delays for RNLI crews

by Gazette Reporter

TRAFFIC delays caused by summer roadworks could have a negative effect on how fast RNLI volunteers get to the Dun Laoghaire lifeboat station, Ireland’s busiest sea rescue service.

Works on Summerhill Road are currently taking place, and are expected to continue until August 16.

There have been reports of long traffic delays because of these works on this road. The road leads to the town centre, and is now forcing traffic onto the Coast Road, causing large tailbacks on Queen’s Road – the main road artery for local RNLI volunteers.

Speaking to The Gazette about the impact these roadworks will have on the service, the station’s operation manager, Stephen Wynne, said delays are “inevitable”.

He said: “There is a natural impact on traffic being re-routed, especially onto the Coast Road, so there is an inevitable delay for the traffic going through [and] for the volunteers to get to the station.

“That may or may not have a knock-on effect, depending on the urgency of the call-out that we have. It is inevitable, really.

“July and August would be our busiest months. So far this year, we have had about 35 call-outs this year – a little above average.

“We normally have about 70 or 80 call-outs a year,” he said.

“Our crew will come from various quarters, and will make their way down as best they can. Now that they are aware of the traffic in the area being bad, they will try to approach by another route.

“All I would be saying is the ideal thing for us is to ensure there is a good flow of traffic in the area to ensure the crew can get down here quickly,” said Wynne.

There are currently 27 volunteers serving the Dun Laoghaire RNLI post.

Wynne said: “The first six volunteers that turn up will go to sea with the all-weather lifeboat, and then three with our inshore lifeboat – we have two lifeboats here.

“It all happens really fast. We try and get a crew here within about six or seven minutes, get a boat launched, and then 10-12 minutes to get out. It all happens very quickly indeed,” he said.

In a statement to The Gazette, a spokesman for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said they went through the required statutory process for the Summerhill Road closure, including placement of the statutory notices in the national press, and inviting submissions on the proposed closure.

He said: “The planned road closure was also highlighted in advance in [local radio] traffic news on May 24, and repeated every Friday since, on June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29.

“The lifeboat station is on the circulation list for the weekly traffic news. In the case of an emergency, routes can be cleared by An Garda Siochana.”

Regarding the timing of the road works, the spokesman said: “Due to lower traffic volumes and more favourable weather conditions for road surfacing works during the summer months, road restoration works are programmed at this time to minimise, as far as possible, traffic disruption and delay.

“A traffic management plan will be in operation and local access will be maintained at all times. The proposed diversion route will be signposted and further details will be available on our website.”

Details on the traffic disruptions are available on the council’s website at www.dlrcoco.ie, with weekly traffic news available in the transportation section of the site.

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