CRASH: Another crash occurred at the Lewis Road Junction on Tuesday evening between a car and a motorcyclist. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

Locals voiced their concerns after yet another accident this week between the Lewis Road Junction onto the bypass.

On Tuesday evening, at approximately 6pm, a car and a motorcyclist collided when one vehicle exited right from the junction.

The Killarney Advertiser took photos at the scene of the crash, which was attended by local Gardai, and it sparked a huge reaction on our Facebook page – reaching over 15,000 people, with 35 shares and 51 comments as locals voiced their concerns that something urgent needs to be done before a fatality occurs.

In June, newly elected Killarney councillors vowed to keep the pressure on central Government in an effort to get the much needed northern relief road into construction phase – which could take up to seven or more years to complete.

The junction has been the scene of several fatal accidents in recent years and plans for its realignment are seen as a major priority in Killarney by both residents and politicians alike.

In May, the Killarney Advertiser ran a story showing an artist’s impression of what the new road layout and adjacent community area will look like.

The plans show a new pedestrian underbridge linking Bridgefield housing estate to a new recreation area which will be constructed in the cut-off lands between the existing and new Kilcummin roads.

However, concerns remain that a fatal accident could occur at the junction before works begin.

Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Niall Kelleher, told the Killarney Advertiser this week that he will press the Council to get planned works started as soon as possible, in two phases if possible, to prevent further similar accidents.

“What I’ll be asking the Council to do now is to do the work in two stages, to implement a left hand turn only, particularly do the work required from the Lewis Road Junction to Cleeny, and whatever work needs to be done. The sooner this is done the better.”

“Inaction is not an option at this stage”

Opinion: By Rory O’Brien

They say the definition of insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing but expecting a different outcome. Well in the case of the Lewis Road junction and the Killarney bypass, that insanity manifests itself in the lack of any intervention to the current traffic flow, expecting the regular accidents to stop.

There are now regular accidents at this junction, ranging from minor to loss of life.

But still, our esteemed elected officials deem changes only worthy of press releases, but no actual changes to the status quo. And so, the driving public toss the dice and take their chances. Throw into this organised chaos of traffic policy, tourists in rental cars, already driving on what is for them the wrong side of the road, and you have a scene usually found at Birds Bizarre. But alas, the implications of collision does not end in a laugh and scream of excitement.

The reality of two vehicles colliding is a terrifying ordeal leading to trauma, injury and shock. The dogs in the street know that this junction is an accident waiting to happen, although that wait can be only a week or two-long. It’s a regular occurrence, and that’s only counting actual collisions.

I personally have witnessed three near misses, and not two weeks ago, wrote my car off into the side of a rental BMW. Having admitted responsibility for the accident, the driver said he thought he had right of way. In fairness, there are no roadside instructions to the contrary. We shook hands, exchanged details and laughed nervously at the outcome. He had his wife and son in the car, and I should have had my daughter in the passenger seat. She went to pick-up last-minute bits and pieces for her imminent start to Fifth Year instead.

The passenger side took the majority of the impact! The possible outcomes don’t bear thinking about – but thinking is what I have been doing.

And so, what is the answer? The only definite answer is that inaction is not an option at this stage. Make Lewis Road left turn only, put up accident black spot signs, reduce the speed limit to 20kph, erect yield signs for the bypass to Lewis Road, put up enlarged photos of previous crashes, hire a clown holding a poster saying, ‘slow down or die’. From sensible to surreal, the options are there. I can’t say for sure what would work. I can say for sure that doing nothing is insanity.