Concern mounting over rising levels of traffic in Johnstown

Traffic calming measures are required urgently in Johnstown to alleviate congestion around the school campus according to Cllr Eddie Fennessy who put forward a motion for the same at a Navan council meeting last week.

Fennessy said he was concerned at the vehicle numbers using the area, a situation that was only going to perpetuate with the construction of the new St Mary's Special School.

The new multi-million-euro development will see an 11-classroom purpose-built school with ancillary special rooms constructed on the educational campus site in Johnstown which already houses St Stephen’s NS and Coláiste na Mí.

In addition, the extension for Coláiste na Mí secondary school to accommodate 650 additional students is also in the pipeline.

As part of the motion, the Mayor of Navan proposed leaving the back entrance from the L5050 Road at the rear of the school open for bus access.

He pointed out that the bus for St Mary's requires quick and easy access for their students with many travelling long distances and with complex needs. Currently the back entrances are open for construction traffic coming from the Kentstown Road only. He said buses could be required to come from the Kentstown roadside, preventing excess traffic through Johnstown Village.

Speaking on a possible solution to the issue, Cllr Fennessy added:

"One of the biggest concerns faced by residents in the Johnstown area is traffic congestion at the roundabout next to the supermarket. The primary driver of that congestion is the school campus not too far away.

"The last time I checked there were 1,900 pupils attending school there. When the new secondary school has completed the student body is expected to grow to 2,300. That's a massive increase in school traffic on a road network that can't cope as it is."

Meath County Council responded saying that they did not support the creation of an exit onto the L5050 Road Education campus in Johnstown due to the potential for traffic hazards as a result of increased traffic volume. The local authority said it would support the opening of the road provided through the Dunville Estate which would help to alleviate the traffic issues referred to.

"Whilst I accept that the through road at Dunville will alleviate some of the problem, I still think additional measures will be required to manage the congestion," says Cllr Fennessy.

He added that concerned residents affected by heavy traffic congestion had flagged the issue.

"The motion was born out of a consultation with local residents who feel that even a reduction in buses accessing the school at peak times would help."

"There's merit in their suggestion. With heavy construction traffic using the back entrances, now might not be the right time to implement the proposal. I would hope that it could be considered when the new school is constructed."