Report on Pedestrian Safety Newtown Bridge & R154 Pedestrian Crossing

Trim Municipal District – 2:00 p.m., 15th November, 2019, Trim Civic Offices

Report for Trim MD Councillors St Peter’s Bridge (at Marcie’s) Pedestrian Options


A Notice of Motion was submitted by Cllr Trevor Golden at the Trim MD Ordinary Meeting on 12th July 2019 as follows:

‘That Meath County Council will assess and prepare a report for the Members’ consideration on improving pedestrian access from the R154 to Lackanash Road. This report should include, but not limited to:

•Measures on the bridge
•Pedestrian Crossing on the R154’

Measures on the bridge
Several Options were reviewed and here follows a report of each option considered.

Road Marking: The length of this bridge is 38m and the width of the road (L-8016-2) on the bridge is 4m. The minimum acceptable width for a footway is 1.2m which only then allows only an unacceptably narrow 2.8m for vehicles – this creates a conflict between pedestrian and vehicle road markings.

Phasing of Traffic Lights: The traffic lights at this bridge currently only allow for vehicular traffic. The combined amber/green phase is 1.5 minutes. If an additional pedestrian phase were to be included in the cycle then a further minimum of 1.5 minutes would need to be allowed. This additional wait time would cause driver frustration probably leading to poor driver behaviour. In addition the space available for queued vehicles on the Navan side of the bridge will not allow for the extra cars that would need to queue while waiting for the green light thus causing conflicts/back ups on the through road from Lackanash to Navan. It is also questionable whether a pedestrian would wait for the pedestrian phase of the traffic light cycle before crossing thus making it ineffectual.

Cantilever Bridge: A cantilever bridge structure (similar to that in Navan) would cost approximately €0.8 million (based on pro-rate costs from the Navan bridge) which is prohibitively expensive considering the low pedestrian count at this location.

Separate Pedestrian Bridge: A pedestrian only bridge could possibly be constructed parallel to the existing vehicular bridge however this would cost in the region of €0.5 million – based on an approximately 50m long bridge. In addition the bridge wing walls would need to be broken through which is unacceptable in a protected structure.

Close Bridge to Vehicular Traffic: There is an option of closing this bridge to vehicular traffic and leaving it as pedestrian only. However the vehicles currently using this bridge would then be diverted towards the ring road. It is unknown whether the other junctions along the ring road can absorb this additional load. It also would create a 3km detour for vehicles as opposed to the current distance of 850m. However if the members wish to do this on a trial basis please advise and this office can arrange same.

Conclusion: The existing bridge has immense historical significance dating from 1330 and is a protected structure. It is in an Architectural Conservation Area and it is also located in the Boyne and Blackwater Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area. This means that any options involving civil works would need extensive permissions from various government bodies which may not be forthcoming.

There is no easy solution for giving more priority to pedestrians at this location and the pedestrian traffic counts do not justify extraordinary measures. Those pedestrians that use the bridge do so with due care and attention. No incidents are accidents have been reported to date nor were any issues identified during the pedestrian traffic counts undertaken (see below for pedestrian traffic count data).

It should be noted that there are many schemes that already form part of the County Development Plan which must be considered from limited funding. None of the options detailed above form part of the development plan and there is considerable expense involved in most of them. At this time the pedestrian count does not justify such expense.

The County Development Plan does include for a new bridge to be built across the Boyne which may reduce vehicular traffic at St Peter’s Bridge by approximately 50%. This may make it even easier for pedestrians to navigate the bridge.

Pedestrian Crossing on the R154

Meath County Council regularly receives proposals for new works but the volume of works unfortunately far exceeds the funding and resources available. Meath County Council therefore must prioritise works – pedestrian crossing locations are thus typically placed closer to urban centres where there is a higher pedestrian volume that there is at the proposed location above (i.e. on the R154 at the turn for the bridge).

Rather, it is the preference of this office to channel available funds towards a controlled crossing on the Lackanash Road at the pedestrian entrance to the Porchfields (approximately opposite the entrance to Steeple Manor Estate). It is hoped that this may be installed in 2020 if funds become available.

The report can be found in the agenda for the Trim MD Meeting on
Agenda – Trim Municipal District Meeting November 2019