Heed your Speed Come June

Report by Heike O’Sullivan

How much attention do you, dear Reader, pay to our road signs? There are quite a few of them and it’s understandable that some drivers are easily confused. On the other hand, I sometimes wonder, what part of ‘Yield’ or ‘Stop’ is so hard to understand? Speed limit signs, too, are often more regarded as general guidelines than actual rules.

Anyway, you may want to take some more heed of speed limit signs in particular from mid-June onward, because Kerry County Council have approved changes to speed limits within our county under the new Bye-Laws which were proposed and open for public consultation last summer. They will come into operation on 18th June next and, sure, you know how it is: You’re driving along a road you’ve been travelling for decades, half on auto-pilot, your right foot doing what it’s always done without consulting your eyes via your brain, and next thing, you’ve been snapped by a speed camera hidden in one of those vans with the big, helpful camera sticker on them.

Some of those changes will affect our towns and villages here in the greater Kenmare area, and those national roads we travel most, such as the N70, N71 and N22. This is a brief summary of the biggest changes we can expect to be implemented in the next few weeks:-

N70 – Ring of Kerry
A new 80km/h speed limit will come in for sections of the Ring of Kerry, addressing safety concerns due to narrowness, bends and heavy tourist traffic for many months of the year. Areas affected include Reen to Cappanacush, and Blackwater Bridge to Sneem to Waterville.

N71 – Bonane road
Maximum speed on the Bonane road is also being reduced to 80km/h. Increased safety at Tulloha National School is aided by the introduction of a Periodic Special Speed Limit of 50km/h from Mondays to Fridays during school term. The speed limit is to apply for 30 minutes before School Starting Time, and for 20 minutes each during Early and Late Collection respectively.

N22 – Cork/Killarney road
At long last, a much needed speed limit of 60km/h is planned for the dangerous junction at Glenflesk church. How tragic that it took Headford’s Denise Crowley RIP being killed there last year, before the speed at that location was finally lowered.
Similarly, a speed limit of 80km/h will be implemented on the Killarney Bypass, at its junctions with the Kilcummin and the Upper Lewis roads. A lower limit of 60km/h has long been campaigned for and I find it amazing that local opinion and warnings have again been substantially ignored by the Powers That Be.

The biggest change to speed limits around the town of Kenmare is, that the 50km/h zone on the Killowen road will be extended by around 1km into the Kilgarvan direction. The many drivers already unwilling to stick to the current limit of 60km/h on this straight stretch of road and frequently caught by visiting speed camera vans, might take note!
Heading into town from Bonane or Tuosist, staggered speed limits will let you traverse the Sound Bridge at 60km/h before slowing down to 50km/h just past Sallyport House.
A Special Speed limit of 30km/h will apply within the housing estates of Ard Bhearna, Cill Mhuire, Dromneavane, Gortamullen, Railway Crescent and Scarteen Park.

Kilgarvan, too, will have staggered speed limits (from 100 and 80km/h respectively, down to 60 and then 50km/h) on both approaches to the village on the R 569.
A Special Speed limit of 30km/h will apply within the housing estates of Healy Rae Park, Limewoods and St Garvan’s Terrace.

On the approach into Sneem on the N70 from Kenmare, staggered speed limits will be introduced to calm traffic well before entering the village. The allowed maximum speed of 80km/h on the Ring of Kerry will go down to 60 near McCarthy Motors, and then to 50km/h just before Pairc na Sonas.
A Special Speed limit of 30km/h will apply within the Sea View housing estate.

Surprisingly, the current speed limit of 50km/h through the village of Castlecove is to be increased to 60km/h. Let’s hope this won’t lead to any accidents with vehicles exiting the car parks and residential properties within the village, especially during the busy summer months.

In Caherdaniel, the 50km/h speed limit sign on its southern approach road from Castlecove is to be moved from its current location at the turn-off for the GAA pitch, to near the old Dispensary just outside of the village core. The 50-zone on the western road, coming in from Waterville, will remain unchanged.

If you want to read through the County of Kerry Road Traffic Special Speed Limits Bye-Laws 2018, as adopted by Kerry County Council and signed off on 8th March 2019, yourself and familiarise yourself with changes to roads not mentioned here, the Bye-Laws and their accompanying maps can be viewed on http://www.kerrycoco.ie/home3/roadsmain/projects-schemes/special-speed-limit-bye-laws/ or in Kerry County Council’s offices in Kenmare, Killarney and Tralee.