Saturday 23 February 2019

Mayhem on the M50 as 4,400 crash, break down

Heavy traffic on the M50
Heavy traffic on the M50

More than 4,400 crashes and breakdowns have been reported on the country's busiest motorway in less than two years.

Incidents on the M50 regularly bring traffic to a standstill, with lengthy queues a daily fact of life for Dublin commuters.

The scale of the problem is revealed in a database showing more than 200 reports of accidents, debris, tyre blow-outs and other potentially lethal incidents every month.

Thirty-one major incidents have been reported since the beginning of last year, with 737 classed as high priority.

The major incidents included collisions, breakdowns, vehicles on fire and an instance of a cyc-list or pedestrian on the road.

Some caused chaos for up to four hours, according to the database from Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

High-priority events happened at a rate of at least one a day, with most of the problems caused by collisions, cars breaking down or debris.

On four occasions, animals were spotted wandering on the carriageway.

Cars were left abandoned four times, while there were 18 high-priority incidents involving cyclists or pedestrians.

Four trucks spilled their loads and there was one instance of a car driving in the wrong direction.

Sean O'Neill, of Transport Infrastructure Ireland, said the figures gave an insight into the challenges of managing the country's busiest route.

"As more people are using the road, there is statistically a greater chance of an incident happening," he said.

"There has been a significant increase in the number of people using the road, 5pc to 6pc growth."

More than 1,900 moderate-priority incidents were reported along with more than 1,700 low-priority events.

Breakdowns were the most common problem, with 1,897 since the beginning of 2016, a rate of about three per day.


There were just over 1,000 collisions, at least one a day, while debris on the road caused problems on 583 occasions.

Sixty-one drivers ran out of fuel while 36 cars caught fire.

Thirteen lost drivers pulled in and called for directions.

With extra tolling already ruled out by the Government, Transport Infrastructure Ireland is instead planning variable speed limits at the busiest times.

"During rush hour in the morning and the evening, we will regulate traffic flow at a speed, maybe 60, 70 or 80kmh," Mr O'Neill said.

He said the system should be up and running by early 2020.

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