Friday, October 16, 2020

Traffic levels on the M9 fell considerably last weekend, according to the TII. Photo: The Irish Times

TRAFFIC levels at the M9 motorway’s Mullinavat junction fell by 45 per cent between the weekends ending October 4 and October 11, according to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

Given the Level 3 public health restrictions which came into effect in the interim period, Gardaí and the TII have since noted the reduction in private car volumes across the country’s main transport arteries.

Data released this week indicates that such volumes on national roads are now below 70 per cent of pre-Covid levels which compares to the over 85 per cent prior figure recorded prior to the introduction of Level 3 restrictions in Dublin on September 19.

The TII data in relation to the decline between the weekends of October 4 and 11 revealed the following drops:

M9 Mullinavat: 45%

N7 Kill: 43%

M8 Mitchelstown: 40%

M6 Athenry: 34%

M7 Birdhill: 30%

This indicates a drop of almost 20 per cent in private car volumes inside a week, a figure likely to increase should the Government act on NPHET’s reported six-week Level 5 recommendation.

According to Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey: “We would once again ask people not to travel outside of their county unless it is for essential purposes. This is a public health regulation under Level 3 and it is An Garda Síochána’s function to check compliance with this as part of Governmental and societal efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19.”

He added: “So far, we have seen a drop in traffic volumes on main roads. It appears that people are reducing their journeys in line with the public health advice and we thank them for that. However, this needs to be maintained. Fewer journeys means people having fewer interactions which reduces the chances for Covid-19 to spread. That is the strong advice from the public health professionals.”

Deputy Commissioner Twomey echoed the position of Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan: People need to stay within their county and work from home unless absolutely necessary to attend in person. We also continue to have a significant focus on community support and helping to protect the most vulnerable…

“An Garda Síochána will continue to engage with, educate, and encourage people to comply with public health advice.  Only where provided for and as a last resort will An Garda Síochána move to enforcement.”

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