Sligo traffic congestion
The Irish Times - 29th
IBEC calls for action plan as survey finds gridlock is
adversely affecting 85 per cent of local companies
by Marese McDonagh
Traffic congestion in Sligo is crippling local
businesses, according to a new survey which found that
gridlock is having an adverse effect on 85 per cent of
IBEC North West has called for an action plan amid claims
that the long-awaited euro70 million "inner relief road'
currently under construction in Sligo will not solve the
problem. Following the detailed survey of 34 companies with
a combined workforce of over 3,200, the employers' group
said a new ring road and another bridge over the Garavogue
River were essential.
Dr Jim Hoey, president of IBEC North West, said that
gridlock in Sligo was "harming competitiveness" and was a
serious obstacle to efforts to attract new businesses.
Dr. Hoey said the next National Development Plan must
include a new ring road for Sligo but in the interim
improved car parking facilities and public transport were
Nearly half of the companies surveyed said congestion was
having a major impact on their delivery schedules, with 40
per cent saying the traffic problems were having an impact
on staff punctuality. While 8 per cent of companies said the
inner relief road, which is due to be completed in autumn
2005 would ease congestion, 42 per cent said it would not
solve the problem.
The research showed widespread dissatisfaction with how
Sligo's notorious traffic congestion is being dealt with by
the authorities. Over 90 per cent said Sligo Borough Council
was ineffective as far as the gridlock was concerned, while
70 per cent were critical of how both the Garda and the
National Roads Authority were responding to the problem.
Some 12 per cent of the companies said they had relocated to
another location in Sligo and that the traffic congestion
was a factor in the decision. A further 12 per cent said
they were considering a move and that the gridlock was a
factor. Nearly 25 per cent said they wou1d consider
introducing flexitime for staff in a bid to beat the
gridlock but 46 per cent said they would not consider
flexible working arrangements. Over 20 per cent said they
would consider remote or tele-working for staff.
Improved parking facilities were regarded as the most
important measure to alleviate the congestion while there
were also calls for an improvement in public transport.
Following consultations between Sligo Chamber of Commerce
and the local borough council, a free bus service was
provided on four key days in the run up to Christmas, while
free parking was provided at the Showgrounds, the home of
Sligo Rovers. A free park-and-ride bus service was also
introduced for the pre-Christmas period.
Local politicians warned that people would leave Sligo
and shop elsewhere because of the ongoing traffic
IBEC said it welcomed the planned expansion of Sligo's
retail sector but warned that unless the traffic issues are
dealt with in a strategic manner, "the ability to attract
potential customers will not be realised".
Mr. Rory O'Connor, who represents IBEC on Sligo County
Council's Infrastructure Strategic Policy Committee, said
the survey showed that business people believe a package of
improvements is needed.
"The new relief road is not going to be enough in
itself," said Mr. O'Connor.