A motorist escaped injury last night following a single-vehicle collision at a controversial junction on the M18.
Shortly after 5.00pm yesterday, a car lost control and crashed into the ditch on the northbound off-ramp of the M18 at junction 13, Tulla Road. The car crossed the lane that carries traffic down from the Tulla Road onto the motorway. Fortunately, no other vehicle was involved.
The crew of a passing private ambulance stopped to assist the motorist while Gardaí and crews from Clare County Fire and Rescue Service from Ennis made their way to the scene. The motorist was uninjured.
Concerns have been expressed repeatedly since the Ennis Bypass was completed in 2007 and later upgraded from dual-carriageway to motorway status in 2009.
The controversial redesignation led to claims that two particular interchanges were “confusing, badly designed and badly laid out”. When the route was further extended to Gort in Galway, similar concerns were raised in relation to another junction at Crusheen.
While other interchanges on the route feature separate on and off ramps, a contraflow system was installed at junctions 13, 14 and 15. This means that traffic leaving and entering the motorway network pass each other on the same stretch of road with no crash barrier separating vehicles.
Motorists also have a very short time to decelerate from 120km/h before turning off at these junctions which feature sharp 90-degree turns. The filter lane onto the motorway is also so short that traffic is often backed up dangerously waiting to safely enter lane one.
The TII have recently installed a warning sign on the M18 between junctions 12 and 13 warning of merging traffic at junction 13 where the filter lane is very short.
In late 2018, Traffic Infrastructure Ireland (TII) installed cameras at Junction 13 as part of “an evidence based approach to studying the interaction between the driver behaviour and the interchanges.”
The previous June, a fatal crash involving a truck and a van at junction 13 happened only a few hundred metres on the opposite side from where a 72-year-old woman was killed in October 2009 after she mistakenly made a wrong turn on to the M18 which took her into the path of oncoming traffic.