THERE was a palpable sense of shock and relief through the town after the overturning of a trailer load of hay on Kilcullen’s bridge last week.
The shock was how easily the overturn had happened at a point where there is constant pedestrian traffic, either people on their way across the bridge or standing at the incident point waiting to cross the road. The relief was that, for once, there was nobody at the location.
The mid-afternoon spill was heard by Mick Masterson as he was moving kegs in the store of McTernan’s just across the market square. “I couldn’t believe what I saw when I looked out,” he said afterwards. “It was just luck that nobody was there.”
Local Tidy Towns member Celia Travers had just finished tending to a flower display in the middle of the bridge when the tractor-towed trailer overturned. She too was very concerned that there could easily have been a terrible tragedy.
The hay load had earlier come from Naas, and down the hill of Kilcullen towards the square. Any traffic travelling in that direction has to make an uphill turn as it passes the entrance to the square area. There is a history of vehicles occasionally losing control at that point, in one case causing substantial damage to the wall in the square along the river some years ago.
In this latest case, two bollards were broken, as were some flowers planters, but the bridge wall at the point contained the spilled hay bales from tumbling into the square and parked cars below.
The incident caused significant traffic disruption through the normal busy commuting time, and diversions were put in place at either end of Kilcullen during the work to right the trailer and reload the bales.
Following the incident, local councillor Tracey O’Dwyer suggested that the bend should be examined from a road safety perspective. “I’m only very glad that nobody was injured or killed,” she said afterwards.
In such incidents there is always a full Garda investigation into the circumstances, around load factors, strapping of the load, speed and other considerations. After that, a decision will be made as to whether there should be further action.