Appeals have been made to drivers to obey traffic lights at the site of major roadworks in the county amid fears that delays could affect businesses across the county.
Drivers breaking lights at the roadworks on the N15 south of Ballybofey have been blamed for delays that lasted over an hour at the weekend.
Donegal County Council appealed for drivers to obey the temporary traffic signals which are in operation at night and at weekends.
The delays on the road at Cappry have been an issue since the summer. Concerns have been expressed that the delays would have prevented or seriously delayed emergency services travelling on the road, which is the main artery between north and south Donegal.One woman who was caught up in delays on Saturday night has been travelling the road on a weekly basis for several months. She said the delays on Saturday evening were the worst she has seen.
“The lights kept turning green but you were going nowhere,” she said.
“We don’t know if the lights were the issue or people jumping the lights. Cars were moving both sides at the same time. Either the lights were wrong or people were jumping the queue.”
She said with traffic at a standstill at one point, emergency services would not have been able to get through.
“You wonder how an ambulance would have got through without wings,” she said.
“Gentlemen got out of cars to manage it. I don’t know if they were workers or people just stuck in the traffic but people got out of cars to go to manage it.
“ If they weren’t workers they were Good Samaritans. We spoke to one of the men and he said he was in the car behind us.”
Donegal County Council said breaking lights is the single biggest problem at the location, where major safety works are being carried out.
“It is an offence to do so and it has significant knock-on effects,” a council spokeswoman said.
“If drivers 'go on green' and 'stop on red' a reasonable flow can be maintained and delays to everyone's journey can be minimised.
“Donegal County Council regret any delay and disruption arising out of these necessary and valuable safety and pavement works.
“We would appeal to the public to strictly obey the traffic signals for their own safety and for good of everybody trying to get around.”
The council said the contractor employed on the project has the full responsibility to ensure that traffic management is functional and operating effectively at all times.
“The traffic management contractor for this project is local to the site and is on 24-hour call. They, with the gardaí, attend and address any issues arising as soon as possible. This includes resolving any issues arising out of driver behaviour, faults or accidents/incidences.
“Once a problem occurs significant tailbacks rapidly increase and unfortunately it can then take some significant time to resolve and clear tailbacks. This has resulted in some very considerable delays arising on occasion.”
Local councillor Patrick McGowan said the works are essential but the delays have the potential to impact on businesses across the county and as far away as Derry.
“There is serious queue-jumping at Cappry and it is affecting the whole county as much as Ballybofey and Stranorlar as that is the main artery through the county.
“People are jumping the lights and once that starts it takes intervention - it can’t correct itself. Jumping lights leads to more light jumping. I am appealing to the public to obey the traffic signals.”
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