Putting a footpath along this stretch of road will cost a staggering €1million.
Archerstown - Turtulla path is a vital piece of infrastructure with up to 300 apprentices set to use it.
The cost of providing a footpath from Turtulla Cross as far as the Archerstown Industrial Estate will cost in the region of €1million, members of the Templemore Thurles Municipal District Council have been informed.
The staggering sum was revealed by the District Manager Mr Matt Shortt to astounded members at the December meeting of the council, and it is as a result of the huge structural works which will be necessary at the junction, should the footpath get the go ahead, and should the funding be made available for the work to be carried out.
Councillor John Hogan has been calling for a footpath for the area for some time to cater for the 300 students who will be engaging in apprenticeships at the new Education Training Board centre, once it is up and running. The majority of these students will not have transport and will therefore be using the footpath out of town to get to the centre in the morning and evening.
“This is a criticial piece of infrastructure as far as I am concerned. We have to ensure that the students are safe going to and coming from the centre and we must ensure that the footpath gets the go ahead. I have been on about this for a long time and it is now critical because the centre will be up and running very soon and we don't want students having to walk the road (pictured right) - a road which is already very busy with traffic,” Cllr Hogan said.
While Turtulla Cross itself is regarded as one of the most dangerous junctions in the District, there have also been many calls in the past to have a narrow footpath across to Archerstown - this is a route regularly used by walkers and joggers and the feeling by a number of former Thurles Town Councillors, was that the road margin could be used to create a path. However, nothing has ever been put in place to link up with the path on Turtulla which takes pedestrians all along Thurles Golf Club wall and right into the centre of Thurles town to Liberty Square.
Turtulla Cross has caused a lot of problems with a multiplicity of accidents over the years.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) have looked at the Turtulla Cross junction on many occasions and a few changes have been made to the layout. However, were a new footpath to be installed on the Archerstown road, it is very likely that a major overhaul of the junction would be in order as well and this is where the high costs come into play. The junctions between Archerstown and Turtulla, and Turtulla and Cloughmartin are not aligned and this makes it very difficult to find an engineering solution to the problems. It could require land acquisition to adequately solve all of the problems and this can be a time consuming, costly and problematic process. “Whatever has to be done, must be done at this stage,” Cllr Hogan said.