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Fine Gael TD says motorway lights should be switched off overnight

Charlie Flanagan has written to the Transport Minister suggesting that motorway lights could be switched off overnight to save money and energy.

Image: MarkyBon via Flickr

FINE GAEL TD Charlie Flanagan has suggested that overhead lighting on motorways should be switched during off-peak hours in order to save money and energy.

Flanagan, who is also the Fine Gael parliamentary party chairperson, tweeted yesterday that implementing such a scheme would be “a cost saving and energy saving measure”.

He told TheJournal.ie that he had written to Transport Minister Leo Varadkar to raise the issue.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) said it would have no issue with switching off motorway lights as long as a risk assessment was carried out in each location.

Flanagan said the idea had been a long-held one having spent a lot of time commuting from his constituency in Laois-Offaly to Dublin and pointed to such a scheme running in Belgium where lights on the motorways are switched off overnight.

“The motorway I travel on is probably one of the busiest and it’s really well lit from the Red Cow to Portlaoise,” he said.

But I take view that we are in fairly difficult economic times and consideration might be given to turning off lights from 12 midnight until 6.30 in the morning or even from 10 at night to 6.30 in the morning.

Flanagan said he expected “to be hammered” for the idea but said that the idea was only for motorways where there are no cyclists, pedestrians or tractors: “They are some of our safest routes,” he said.

In a statement the RSA said it would not have an issue with such a measure if each road was fully assessed to ensure there were no safety concerns. But it said that lights on intersections would need to be kept on for safety.

“We would have no problem with switching off motorway lights at times of low volumes of traffic such as night time on stretches of motorway subject to a road safety assessment for that location. But lights must remain switched on at intersections and at periods of high traffic volume,” a statement said.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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