Public opinion is being sought on traffic volumes along four of Longford’s busiest roads as part of a County Council crackdown on noise pollution levels.
The strategy is part of a measure enforced by government leaders at EU level designed to target roads that attract in excess of three million vehicles per year, or over 8,000 cars each day.
A draft plan incorporating the four roads, namely the N4 as it enters Westmeath, a sectio of the N63, the R198 linking Longford to neighbouring Co Cavan and Richmond Street in Longford town, is currently being examined by officials from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).
When the results of that draft is signed off on, members of the public will be asked for their own views as to how best traffic noise can be minimised.
Listening on, the majority of councillors welcomed the move. Some however, like Cllrs John Duffy and Martin Mulleady were left disappointed by confirmation the plan was unlikely to be extended to other sections of roadway.
“My concern is further out the R198,” said Cllr Duffy. “People can’t sleep at night with people doing doughnuts.”
The Fine Gael representative’s specific reference to Drumlish drew a snappy response from Cllr Mulleady, who also highlighted the main Newtownforbes road to Drumlish.
“Between 40 and 100 lorries use that road each day,” he said, revealing two constituents had made contact with him in recent weeks to air their concerns.
Cllr Gerry Brady said he was all too aware of the traffic noise along the R198.
The debate, although largely businesslike in its delivery, generated a brief moment of laughter when Cllr Victor Kiernan complained about the noise levels outside his own house in Killoe.
“I’m lucky to be hard of hearing,” he said, a statement even those sitting behind the council’s executive table appeared to find amusing.
Cllr Paul Connell, meanwhile, asked for his fellow councillors support in seeking a deferral of the plan’s adoption until it meets the needs of Longford and its near 40,000 population.