Roughan & O’Donovan (ROD) designed this scheme to address the serious traffic congestion issues at the junction of the N85 and N67 at Blake’s Corner in Ennistymon. In addition to improving road network capacity, the scheme design enhances the public realm within a historic streetscape.
Clare County Council approved the Part VIII planning application for the scheme in 2018. The Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) was confirmed by An Bord Pleanála in 2022.
Traffic congestion at Ennistymon’s historical Blake’s Corner has been a cause of concern for many years. Over 1,100 vehicles an hour traverse the junction during busy periods, and larger vehicles require all other traffic to stop to complete a turning manoeuvre.
The junction causes particular difficulty for coaches bringing tourists to one of Ireland’s favourite visitor attractions, the Cliffs of Moher, as it is on the principal access route to Lahinch and North and West Clare.
There are no continuous safe pedestrian footpaths provided through the junction and onto the bridge, which itself has only a narrow footpath on one side.
The project consisted of a review of previous studies of the junction at Blake’s Corner, a traffic modelling assessment of improvement options and the design of an improvement scheme to deal with the long-standing traffic problems at the junction.
The proposed scheme involves the construction of a new bridge approximately 80m upstream of the existing seven-arch masonry Michael Conway Bridge. This will divert the N67 National Secondary Route away from the bottom of the Main Street and facilitate the pedestrianisation of the existing bridge. New plazas will be created on each side of the existing bridge, extending the town centre across to the west side of the river.
The scheme features enhanced crossing arrangements for pedestrians on all approaches, complementary landscaping, lighting and services enhancements and other ancillary elements. As well as benefitting traffic, the works will greatly benefit schoolchildren moving between residential areas on the east side of the river and schools on the west side.
- Reconfiguration of existing junctions and priorities to allow the main flow of traffic across the new bridge
- Use of controlled crossing facilities and enhanced footpaths to improve pedestrian facilities
- Use of complementary landscaping to create an attractive public realm within Ennistymon town
Designing a road network with sufficient capacity to cater for existing traffic demands while at the same time conserving the historic fabric of the town proved challenging.