herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Five car crashes in one day at M9 blackspot

COLLISIONS: Fears over three-month-old stretch of motorway

A MOTORWAY that has been open for just three months has already become an accident blackspot after one death and numerous crashes.

The new section of the M9 Crookstown to Castledermot motorway had five accidents recorded in one day and gardai have said they are "concerned" with the situation.

Tragedy struck on the route on Valentine's Day when James Scully (22) died in a single vehicle crash, which left his brother Paul and sister Charlotte fighting for their lives. Both are now out of danger.

There is real concern over the safety of the route and the South Kildare Action Group held a crisis meeting to discuss the problem. In a statement, the group said: "The meeting was attended by up to 20 senior officials from Kildare County Council, the National Roads Authority, the Road Safety Authority, the Health Service Executive, gardai, fire and ambulance services.

"This was not a regular council meeting. The meeting lasted almost three hours and discussed the number of accidents on the new M9.

"Concerns were raised among the officials as to whether the motorway was ready and safe at the time of opening, whether the motorway was opened too soon and why there are no barriers running adjacent to the road, grass verge and steep embankments and dykes leading to a stream.

"Since opening in December, there have been numerous crashes on the motorway and one person was killed. One such accident involved many vehicles, one of which went down an embankment. Even as recently as [last] Monday morning, there were five crashes on the same stretch of motorway."

Gardai in Athy, Co Kildare, have said that they are "concerned" with the spate of accidents, although no patterns linking the crashes have emerged as yet.

"There is nothing to suggest that the roadway is causing the high level of accidents but if the trend continues along this roadway in a close proximity to each other we may have to take remedial action in conjunction with the council," said Sergeant Tom Harte.

Kildare County Council denied that any 'secret' meeting took place but admitted that there had been a meeting of the council's Road Safety Working Group on February 17.

"This is a group which meets every quarter and reviews all accidents which have taken place, on any of our roads, in the intervening period," said Charlie Talbot from Kildare County Council. He did admit that members of the NRA, RSA, HSE, gardai and Civil Defence were in attendance.

hnews@herald.ie

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