Bowes Corner in Thurles
A Notice of Motion, tabled by Cllr David Doran, calling for the installation of a roundabout at Bowes Corner, Thurles has been ruled out by engineering staff on the basis that it is simply unworkable.
This problematic junction has been the source of much debate for many years - indeed decades at this stage - with many public representatives offering their views as to what should happen to make traffic flow more freely at the entrance to the town from the Abbey Road side onto Friar Street. The junction also features the crossroad between the very busy Matthew Avenue and Butler Avenue. And, to add to the complications there are also the Colmyard and Railway Road routes feeding into the junction as well, meaning that there are six different entrances and exits onto one junction.
For many years at Thurles Urban District Council and Town Council forums, this junction was highlighted and debated - remember this was a t a time when traffic was not nearly as heavy as it is nowadays in Thurles town. Some improvements were made to the junction with a yellow box add to the Butler Avenue/Railway Road side, and a kerb buildout added to the Matthew Avenue/Friar Street side to try and give a better sight line looking up towards Abbey Road. Some would say that these have made a difference, while others would argue that they have only added to the problems - driver discipline is required to make both measures work, and this discipline can often be missing particularly with frustrated motorists who may have been stuck in traffic for some time.
Sinn Fein Councillor David Doran (pictured) tabled the Notice of Motion at a recent meeting of the Templemore Thurles Municipal District calling on the council “to address the dangerous road junction at Bowes corner in Thurles by way of a roundabout or whatever is necessary to make this junction safer. There are many accidents occurring here and some safety measures need to be implemented immediately,” Cllr Doran wrote in his submission to the meeting.
He added that this junction has always caused problems and is a bottleneck on the approach to Thurles town. “We really need to tackle this junction once and for all and I know that there is also the complication of the railway bridge to take into account, but that's no reason not to do anything about this. It's going on long enough now,” Cllr Doran told engineering staff at the meeting.
However, in keeping with the answer to similar calls down through the years, Cllr Doran was informed that it is simply not possible to put a roundabout at the junction due to the fact that there are six roads leading onto it, and also because of the fact that the bridge comes into play as well.
There will though, but additional road markings and resurfacing of the junction undertaken in 2019 and the engineers are looking at the junction from every possible angle to try and come up with a better layout.
Cllr Jim Ryan and Seamus Hanafin agreed with Cllr Doran that something needs to be done with Bowes Corner, but both ackowledged that it is an extremely difficult problem to solve.
With vehicles coming from Abbey Road, over the bridge, at speed, it makes it extremely difficult to install traffic calming measures and when the right turns onto Butler Avenue coming from Abbey Road, and Matthew Avenue coming from Friar Street are taken into account, traffic can be backed up for some time, especially at peak times. It is a similar situation with the right turns from Butler Avenue onto Friar Street, although a left turning lane of sorts exists here, while the right turn from Matthew Avenue onto the bridge remains one of the most treacherous in the locality.
Solving the problem of Bowes Corner has challenged the best of engineering brains, and many others besides, and still no suitable solution has emerged from the haze. Either go for broke with a very radical and costly design solution, or else outside the box sticking plaster remedies must be applied, according to councillors.