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IN DETAIL - Childers Road Photo Journal

A photo journal of a mish mash of lighting between the Parkway and Tipperary roundabouts.

Childers Road looking from Parkway Roundabout

View along the Childers Road from the Parkway

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OK, what's special about this road?

This is the start of the Childers Road in Limerick City as the R509, running south from the Parkway Roundabout on the Dublin Road (R445, previously the N7). It's a major link in Limerick's road network, acting as an inner ring road of sorts between the radial routes out of the city (Dublin Road R445, Tipperary Road R527/former N24, Kilmallock Road R512, Fedamore Road R511 and the N20). It passes through residential suburbs, serves industrial units/warehouses, and now, major retail developments also. The route is now three/four lanes between the Parkway and Tipperary Roundabout (apart from the junction with N20, all major radial routes join/cross it at roundabouts), and only standard two lane for the remainder, apart from turning lanes at roundabouts/junctions.

What's interesting about the lighting on this section?

The section of the road between the Parkway and Tipperary roundabouts has had overlapping upgrades and changes of lighting. First of all, the route was lit by pretty standard orange low-pressure sodium lighting on cylindrical columns with curved brackets. As is common in Ireland, the junctions got special treatment with better lighting. Both roundabouts are probably from the late 1970s or early 1980s, and as such, have/had Thorn Alpha 8s (old style). The Parkway got cylindrical columns with large curved arms. The Tipperary Roundabout got cylindrical columns with upward slanted arms with a slight curve at the angle. One oddity from ever I can remember has been a line of about half a dozen lights leading to the Tipp roundabout that have an overhead cable powering them. Lighting using overhead wires isn't unusual in Ireland, but these are standard columns for use with buried cabling. Also a couple of the columns had older lanterns than the Alpha 8s, one still has a bowl-less example.

As far as I can remember, the orange sodium lamps present on the road weren't the original ones. Many older SOX lamps were replaced in Limerick (and nationwide) in the early-mid 1980s by the Thorn Alpha 4 examples shown in the photos here of the original columns along the Childers Road.

In probably around 2003, what was at the time the only intermediate junction between the Tipperary and Parkway Roundabouts got an upgrade. New traffic lights were installed, and some bowlless Thorn Alpha 2000s, on the original columns, provided white lighting at the crossings (a theme for Limerick City Council at the time, some other crossings got this treatment) until they aged to provide pinker light. In 2004, the Parkway Roundabout changed a lot when a new section of the Dublin Road (at the time still the N7) opened, a four lane highway down the hill east of the junction. A slip was provided from the Dublin Road to Childers Road, this had new lighting installed; octagonal columns, L brackets and ZX3s.

On one side of the Childers Road leading away from the Parkway Roundabout, there is a housing estate, with a wall separating it from the road. This originally did not have proper gaps in it to allow pedestrian access from the estate to the Childers Road and hence to the Parkway Shopping Centre (southwest off the roundabout). Also around 2003/2004, this changed, with the rebuilding of broken bits of the wall, and installation of two proper access points in the wall. As part of this project, two lights were upgraded on the Childers Road. Double brackets were mounted to the original columns, and ZX3s attached.

The big change to this section of the Childers Road occured in 2004/2005 when a new retail park opened along the road. Bear in mind, the road was congested *before* this. So the developers had to upgrade part of this section of the Childers Road, as well as adding a new junction and upgrading the existing intermediate one (again). This involved widening the road to provide extra lanes for turning, etc. As part of this, the lighting was upgraded along most (but not all) of this section of road. Shorter cylindrical columns were installed, with straight arms and rather anachronistic looking brand new Thorn Alpha 8s (or similar design). The old columns haven't been removed in a number of locations. The old lights don't switch on anymore (though they did for some time).

The final part to the saga was when Limerick City Council upgraded the remainder of the route between the upgraded section and the Parkway Roundabout. This involved chopping down all the trees along "the wall", installing a new cycle lane, pavement and railings, and yes, new lighting. The two double-bracket lights were replaced with Arcs, and the remainder of the lighting was ZX3s on octagonal columns with short straight arms.

Copyright 2006 Conal Watterson