Bypass Closed Today for ‘Scenic Route’ Barrier Repairs

Bypass Barrier Posts 03/06/2015
One of the sections of the newly flattened traffic barrier posts  near the Mullaghmarkey Fly-over. ©Photograph: John Reidy 3-6-2015

For the second time in just eight months the Castleisland Bypass is being closed down for day-long repairs today from 9-30am to 4.45pm.

Traffic is expected to be heavy in and around the town of Castleisland this morning as work gets underway to repair stretches of badly damaged lane dividers in the vicinity of the Mullaghmarkey Fly-over. A list of similar repairs also saw the bypass closed for a day last November.

A recent spate of collisions in that area has caused considerable damage to the barriers there – while the damage to trucks and cars remains inestimable as the evidence moves on in their case.

Cllr. Bobby O’Connell brought home a theory last November and all the evidence on site points towards a certain logic.

Cllr. O’Connell claims that it’s the revelation of the Kerry scenery at this very point which is causing the accidents there.

The crash causing scenery of Kerry as it opens up on the N21 Castleisland By-Pass at Mullaghmarkey. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Bonjour, you Hills of Kerry: The crash causing scenery of Kerry as it opens up on the N21 Castleisland By-Pass at Mullaghmarkey. ©Photograph: John Reidy

It’s a theory which the site of the collisions prove almost conclusively. All the flattened, barrier ground posts lay pointing towards the blue, welcoming hills of Kerry in this particular area.

What’s more, it’s the first real opportunity for motorists / truck drivers to view the panorama when it’s viewable. And therein hides another piece of evidence behind Cllr. O’Connell’s theory.

“If you look at it, when it’s pouring rain and the clouds are down there’s no problem. The minute the sun shines and the clouds and fog lift then they start crashing into the barriers again,” said Cllr. O’Connell.

From the evidence there, it would appear that there are varieties in the severity of the impacts with the barriers.

From some it is obvious that it was the work of a heavy goods vehicle where a row of posts are prostrated towards the view. In other cases the posts are bent a little but with much more damage to cars. Bits of headlights and indicator lamps, bumpers and, recently, a sun visor litter the grass margins telling their own story.

To lend further credence to Cllr. O’Connell’s theory is the indisputable fact that all of the flattened barriers are bowing in the same, scene-ward direction.

Traffic in town today mightn’t reach its pre-2010 levels but it will be much heavier for the duration of the repair works on the bypass. On the bright side of the unfolding saga, area engineer, Brendan Mulhern put the repairs in perspective:

“That particular area has seen a lot of minor crashes into the central dividers there. That fact alone means that the dividers are doing what they’re supposed to.

Without them we’d see a lot of head-on crashes here and, yes the majority of these incidents are on the side of traffic heading down into the most scenic stretch of the roadway there,” Mr Mulhern said.