20 vehicles per minute pass school

Magherbeg National School.
Magherbeg National School.

Between 18-20 cars per minute are driven past a national school located just metres from the 100km/h Derry to Letterkenny road.

There have been continued calls for traffic safety measures to be put in place at Magherabeg National School in Manorcunningham, which has 122 pupils.

A recent traffic survey of the road, a National Primary Route, confirmed that for the half hour in the morning, a total of 18 vehicles per minute passed the school and for the half hour in the evening a total of 20 vehicles per minute are driven past.

Donegal County Council has been carrying out inspections and surveys, while looking at traffic calming measures. While measures such as a traffic calming island, speed cushions and ripples were all mooted, it was suggested these would not work due to a number of factors including the narrowness of the road, the fact some could create more of a hazard than a solution and noise pollution. At the moment, the only traffic calming measures are two flashing amber lights.

The figures were confirmed in a report compiled by Donegal County Councillor Paul Canning who has called for a proposal ‘sooner rather than later’ to slow down traffic.

Colr Canning proposed that traffic passing the school be reduced to below 40km/h for 45 minutes in the morning and to 40km/h for 45 minutes in the evening, at a point 100m on either side of the school.

He said a high level of enforcement for those who don’t adhere to the speed limit must be put in place.

The proposal is in accordance with the Guidance for Setting and Managing Speed Limits in Ireland and is provided for in legislation under the Road Traffic Act 2004.

Councillor Canning urged Donegal County Council to prioritise the road safety measures needed at Magherbeg School with the National Roads Authority.

He asked them to ensure these measures are carried out in the short term and also to look at other methods to alleviate the safety issues at the school. At the recent Inishowen Municipal District meeting in Carndonagh, Colr Canning said there were suggestions of funding for variable speed limits at Woodland and Lurgbybrack schools, adding this should be done in the short-term at Magherbeg and lands could perhaps be acquired for parking off-road in the long-term.

Stephen Hopkins, area engineer with the Council’s roads section said the issue was discussed within roads design and a meeting is to take place to discuss an application for periodic speed limits.

Colr Canning replied that if they had to get the Gardai to enforce the system then “so be it.”

In a written response to Colr Canning and Colr Jack Murray, who both enquired about road safety at Magherbeg school, a two-phased approach was suggested. The response stated: “Road Design have had ongoing discussions with NRA Regional Safety Engineer in relation to this location. Area roads staff recently met with roads design and it now seems unlikely that relining alone at this location will make a significant improvement. Road design are suggesting the two-phased approach where off road pick up and drop-off arrangements are investigated within the school boundary and the second stage where lining arrangements on the national route are investigated to accommodate school traffic entering the national primary.”