Paid-parking, junction realignments, planning work on Roscommon by-pass, they’re all on the agenda for Roscommon town in 2008. A traffic management study on Roscommmon town has recently been completed by consultants employed by Roscommon County Council. The final touches are now being made to the draft plan before it is presented to members of the County Council early in 2008, possibly January or February. While the plan doesn’t have comparative traffic figures for the town, it is expected that it will recognise what everybody driving through the town has noticed, the huge increase in traffic volumes in the town in the last two to three years, especially since the development of new retail shopping outlets in the town. Majella Hunt is a Director of Services for Roads and Transportation with Roscommon County Council and thus is very well placed to talk about the issue of traffic in the town. ‘We would have carried out studies on a number of junctions and a number are at capacity or almost capacity, there has to be changes made to facilitate the changes.’ She added: ‘There are a number of recommendations for junction improvements and realignments, particularly on Circular Road. Circular Road would be one of the problem points in the town, and the widening of that, possibly to three lanes, is envisaged.’ Those changes would incorporate a carriageway with turn off points and changes to the junction at Dunnes Stores. ‘The other thing to be recitified is parking facilities, there will have to be consideration given to paid-parking.’ The introduction of paid parking in Roscommon would not be a speedy move, as bye-laws would have to be passed. ‘That’s a whole process in itself. That process would take a couple fo months, scheme would have to be drawn up and put out to public consultation and then brought to a council meeting.’ Ms. Hunt stressed that although the draft plan is complete, what it contains are only recommendations which will have to be put to public representatives early in the new year. ‘All of these are only recommendations. The traffic plan would have looked at the existing situation and evaluated the ten year growth expectations and the 20 year growth expectations and recommendations would be made based on that. The plan is at draft stage at the moment and will be made public in early 2008, when it will be presented to members. So what can we expect to see recommended in the new plan? ‘The traffic management plan looked at the long term situation including parking and traffic. Short term recommendations include changes to junctions, car parking and the need for paid parking and road realignment. Medium term objectives include link roads, while the long-term projects would include a by-pass for the town.’ Another thorny issue which will be addressed in coming years is the creation of a by-pass for the town, bringing traffic from the N61 on the northern side of the town (Boyle Road) to the N61 on the west of the town (Athlone Road). Because it is a national secondary route, responsibility for the by-pass falls to the National Roads Authority, as opposed to Roscommon County Council. At the moment Roscommon By-Pass is at constraints study stage. The next stage is route corridor selection, when a range of corridor options will be put forward before an eventual route is selected. While the by-pass would be the work of the National Roads Authority, it would be up to Roscommon County Council to develop other link roads, such as a road from the Athlone road linking on to the Galway Road. In the run up to Christmas, traffic volumes are expected to be at their highest in the town. If you’re going shopping, don’t forget to bring along a little extra patience and some of the good cheer and good will which makes this such a festive time of year!