Silence on M4 noise problem

MONEY rather than legal rights is a factor in solving noise problems on the M4 motorway, a public meeting was told.

MONEY rather than legal rights is a factor in solving noise problems on the M4 motorway, a public meeting was told.

Residents in the Leixlip, Celbridge and Maynooth areas who complain that the noise coming from the traffic on certain sections of the M4 motorway is above the legally permitted levels.

But a public meeting heard from Cllr. Colm Purcell that going to law to get the problems sorted may not be easy. He said one person talked about taking the National Road Authority to court to get the surface changed. “They were told: don’t bother. We’ve deeper pockets than you.”

While some sections of the road have the correct surface to counteract noise problems others lead to big problems for nearby residents.

In a brief report at the 16 January meeting of the Council’s Celbridge area, members were told that the matter is to be considered by the Council’s Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) on Transport. “A second Noise Action Plan has been approved and is in place since July 2013, but there is no associated budget,” the report concluded.

That led Cllr. Anthony Larkin to ask to attend that SPC meeting and see the plan. Cllr. John McGinley said the initial draft was “very poor” and he put in an amendment. He also noted that he did not come before the full Council.

That led Cllr. Senan Griffin to ask who was responsible for the M4. As he saw it it was up to the National Road Authority to correct the noise problem. “Silent tarmac would resolve the issue,” he said.

Cllr. Griffin, who has announced he is stepping down as a councillor this year, said the initial lifespan of the motorway before an upgrade was to have been fifteen years. It is now 20 years built.

Cllr. Purcell said the noise was “deafening” in some parts. “The NRA is playing ducks and drakes,” he said.

Kildare County Council area engineer, Jonathan Deane said: “The NRA is responsible for maintenance but it is different if it applies to sound levels.”

Cllr. Purcell said some correction is needed. “Some people have to tap their children on the shoulder because they cannot be heard over the noise when being called in to dinner,” he

Other issues around the motorway were also aired at the area meeting.

Since last year, a number of councillors have been calling for the repair of the crash barrier on the M4 Celbridge roundabout.

The members were told that the area office has written again to the private contractor who maintains the M4 barrier for the NRA. Elsewhere, the broken crash barrier at the Barberstown roundabout has been listed for repair.