Supporting Local News

Thieves target batteries from back of electronic speed limit signs

Thieves have found a new target for their activities – stealing the expensive batteries that power electronic speed limit signs on approaches to towns and villages in the county.

The electronic signs, which go from green to red if motorists are exceeding the speed limits, are recognised as an effective means of slowing cars down.

But a meeting of Tuam Municipal Council was told of a new trend of the batteries being stolen – leaving the screens blank.

The matter was raised by Cllr Karey McHugh (Ind) who said that electronic speed signs at two locations in Tuam alone had batteries removed from them by thieves.

She said that the batteries had also been removed from similar signs in Barnaderg and Lackagh – all of which have to be replaced by Galway County Council or by Traffic Infrastructure Ireland (TII), which has responsibility for the national roads network.

“I have noticed it myself on a number of occasions and could not understand why the speed limit signs were not working,” she said.

“But then I discovered that the covers at the back of the speed signs were wide open with the batteries inside having been robbed.

“These signs are strategically located to slow motorists down but if they are not working, then were have a serious situation with drivers breaking the speed limits,” said Cllr McHugh.

The electronic signs are generally located on approaches to towns and villages where speed limits are 60km/h or 50km/h. The batteries within these signs are solar powered, it is understood.

Cllr McHugh has now asked that these signs are better secured to prevent the batteries from being stolen by criminals. “They are essential for every town and village where there are large volumes of passing traffic,” she added.

Senior Executive Engineer Paul Connolly told the meeting that he was not aware that the problem was as rife as that outlined by the councillor.

He said that he was aware of a couple of incidents and gave an undertaking to investigate the matter further.

Cllr Pete Roche (FG) said that he too was aware of the situation, and it was a matter that was being investigated by the Gardaí.

“This can have knock-on effects in terms of speed through villages in particular. It the electronic signs are not working, then motorists are not aware of the speed they should be adhering to,” he added.

(Photo: The box at the electronic speed sign in Tuam from where the battery has been stolen).

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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