ROADS across South Tipp which were badly damaged during the August floods will be repaired on a temporary basis through the winter, before more permanent works are carried out in the New Year, it emerged at this month’s meeting of the Council.
Roads Engineer Peter Britton said that due to funding shortfalls, many roads and bridges will have to wait until 2013 for full repair works. There was no point in carrying out expensive repairs which would only be destroyed by the winter frost.
Two severe winters have caused “immediate damage to both the surface and substructure of roads.” There has been a “marked reduction” in roads funding in recent years. In response to the August floods, a deputation met with Minister Alan Kelly in September. “No additional funding was granted,” said Mr Britton. “However, the Minister approved expenditure against 2013 allocations, for flood damaged roads only and subject to prior approval by the Department.” Further damage was caused in October. There was a further reduction in the Local Government Fund in response to “limited payments” of the household charge.
In the Cashel area, most damage occurred in the areas north of Moyglass and west of Rossmore. “The Cashel gangs were busy with the planned Roadworks Programme when the August flooding occurred,” said Mr Britton. “The October rainfall event caused more bad flooding in the Laffansbridge and Moyglass areas. Earlier repairs were washed away and thus further repairs were undertaken to again make roads passable pending more extensive works. Following completion of the Area Roads Programme, further repairs will be undertaken in the coming weeks against the listed flood damaged roads.”
Rossmore village is also in need of attention, added Mr Britton. Damage occurred during the August and October events at four bridges: Faranaleen Bridge over the Clashawley River; Bridge on the Suir tributary at Ballygriffin; Bridge at Glenough; Bridge at Cathaganstown. “We recently re-examined the bridge at Faranaleen and now intend to reopen the bridge for one lane of traffic for cars only,” added Mr Britton.
“All four bridges will need to be replaced. Due to fishery limitations, high water and manpower constraints, proper technical analysis and repair has not yet been possible. We will however endeavour to prioritise some works in 2012 subject to Fisheries approval.”
Cllr John Fahey said he had been inundated with phone calls regarding some 29 roads in the Fethard area which need urgent repairs. This was the worst affected area. Cllr Fahey was told repairs are now complete on the R-690 at Clonamicklon, and the R689 at Killenaule, Mellison and Poyntstown. Major repairs to local roads are now substantially complete on nine roads: at Mellison, Glengoole South/Ballynastick, Tullaquane/Knockfinn, Curragheenduff/Coalbrook, Knockanglass, Gurteen/Ballysloe (awaits final surface dressing), and at Urard. The Lickfinn Bridge should be re-opened by mid December.
Localised reconstruction and patching is ongoint at 12 more roads in this area, but the work has been hampered as a patching unit used by Council staff remains out of order. Works have yet to begin on six more roads around Fethard.
Mr Britton emphasised that the extent of the damage has far exceeded the Council’s financial provisions. “We have repeatedly sought additional funding but to date with no succes. This is a situation that is unfamiliar to officials, to the members and to the public. We have committed to some advanced expenditure against the 2013 Restorations Improvement allocation. We are also committed to use whatever resources we have that are available to us to maximise the amount of repairs that we can undertake on a prioritised basis. We will continue to put our case to the Deparment,” added Mr Britton.
County Manager Billy McEvoy said he understood the frustration, but the Council can only afford to carry out winter repairs to maintain existing roads before they can be repaired fully next Spring. The main aim is to keep roads passable through the Winter.
Cllr Michael Fitzgerald said the public were not getting value for money.
“It’s a disgrace that a patching unit has been out of work for three months. It must become a priority. There’s a lot of shabby work being done. I don’t mind saying that.”
Cllr Fitzgerald said nearly 20 cars were recently left damaged by works carried out at Limerick Junction. A site was left in an “atrocious condition.” Cars were left “jacked up” on the road after Council staff left a repair site.
“Whoever left the road in that condition should never get a job from this Council again,” insisted Cllr Fitzgerald. Ballygriffin Bridge is a “joke”: local contractors could have been employed to finish the job a long time ago, said Cllr Fitzgerald.