ENGINEERING WORK that caused traffi chaos in the Republic of Ireland, leading to the country's 'worst ever traffic jam', has prompted calls for formation of a national traffic management agency to prevent a repeat of the incident The need for a network management role as performed by the Highways Agency in the UK was called for by engineers and politicians after a burst water main caused massive disruption on the N11 (News last week). At present responsibility lies with the local council.
'There needs to be an authority set up with real powers to procure transport services and co-ordinate various bodies, ' said Olivia Mitchell, transport spokeswoman at the political party Fine Gael.
Cars travelling on the N11 south out of Dublin were jammed for more than seven hours on 23 November. The jam followed the decision by Dublin City Council's water department to close a lane in order to repair a burst water main at Silverbridge near Bray. However, it failed to warn the transport department or the police about the closure, which was carried out during rush hour (see box).
Commentators and the Irish media called for lessons to be learned from the 'apocalyptic' traffic jam.
Under the current system, traffic management of main routes is carried out by each local authority. There is an Irish National Road Authority, but this is responsible only for road building.
Mitchell warned that rapid development in and around Dublin could lead to more such incidents unless action is taken.
She added that consideration had to be made for congestion charging scheme in the city, increased parking charges, or a system whereby people were only allowed to bring their cars into the city on certain days.