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Signs of madness?

Signs directing people to Islandeady Cemetery were spelt wrong when erected last week.
Signs directing people to Islandeady Cemetery were spelt wrong when erected last week. The mistake has since been corrected.

Signs of madness?

€450k budget for Mayo roadsigns slammed

Edwin McGreal

Figures obtained by The Mayo News that the spend by the National Roads Authority on roadsigns in Mayo of €450,000 in the last two years has been described as ‘an incredible waste of money’ by a local councillor.
The programme has a particular concentration on the N5 and recent weeks have seen a host of new signs erected in Castlebar and Westport and in the countryside along the N5 from Bohola to Westport. Mayo County Council have also been slammed for their role.
Locals and councillors have criticised the cost of the replacement of existing signs and the cost of roadsigns to minor local roads. In total 56 signs have been erected at local road junctions on the Castlebar to Westport road in recent weeks.
One such case is in Derrylea on the Westport Road in Castlebar. Declan Mellett (see picture) has been living there for 20 years and his house is the only house on what is little more than a bog road.
But now there is a sign facing him at the top of the road telling him which way is Westport and which way is Castlebar.
“It’s pathetic. I’m twenty years here and it’s a laugh that I need to be told leaving here which is the way to Westport and which is the way to Castlebar. People using these roads don’t need to be told what way to go. They are very quiet roads that only locals use. It’s a shameful waste of taxpayers’ money,” he told The Mayo News.
And to make matters worse, two white signs at the top of the road listing the local road number had to be removed when Mr Mellett contacted the NRA to tell them it was dangerous to pull out of the road because the signs were blocking his view of oncoming traffic.
Around Castlebar, the NRA have recently updated roadsigns on the main thoroughfares but Cllr Michael Kilcoyne argues that the existing signs were ‘perfect’ and called for serious action to be taken.
“With the money that has been squandered what [An Taoiseach] Enda Kenny needs to do is take the NRA and sack them. The NRA have caused more havoc in this country. As if people coming out of a village or road with only one house need to be told where to go. This is an incredible waste of money with all the government cutbacks people have to deal with,” said Cllr Kilcoyne.
Cllr Kilcoyne also highlighted a number of signs that gave false directions such as one for Redhill in Ballyvary and one for Ballymacrath in Castlebar.
Declan Mellett outside his house at Derrylea, CastlebarA NRA spokesman said that while the NRA are responsible for signs on and to national road (green signs), Mayo County Council are responsible for and budget for regional and local road signs.
“The council have a budget of €186,000 for signs at a time when there are potholes big enough for mini-swimming pools. Adequate signs are needed but what is happening here is crazy,” said Cllr Kilcoyne.
Defending the level of spend, the spokesman for the NRA said a number of factors had to be borne in mind.
“The €450,000 is an all-in cost and it is a tendered product so the best value has been sought. In that €450,000 is a lot of factors such as deep structural support, reflective material on the signs, labour and safety of putting up the signs.
People often question why a sign might go up for a road where there is only one house on it. Well what if there is a fire and people need directions to it?
“With regard to the signs around the roundabouts [in Castlebar], every six or seven years we have a renewal programme and there’s a lot of very interesting stuff in relation to the engineering of the signs that people wouldn’t appreciate.

ROAD TO NOWHERE Declan Mellett outside his house at Derrylea,
Castlebar, the only house on the small road. He describes the installation
of expensive signs at the top of his road as ‘shameful’.

For instance the material in the new signs is as sturdy as the old signs but is more flexible if hit so there’s a much greater safety component to them in the event of an accident,” he told The Mayo News.

HAVE YOUR SAY email edwinmcgreal@mayonews.ie with your comments