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Weather causes serious damage on Tipp roads

Thursday, 1 February 2018

POTHOLED AND raveled roads are causing headaches for the local authority in North Tipperary, who are struggling to keep up with repairs on roads heavily impacted by recent bad weather.

"Roads in our District were completely destroyed by recent storms - roads were completely washed away," was the bleak summation by the District Engineer of the current situation in some rural areas on North Tipp.

John Jones, Engineer for the Municipal District for Roscrea, Templemore and Thurles, told the monthly meeting of the Municipal Council last week that work crews were struggling to keep up with the number of repairs necessary, which cannot be performed in wet conditions.

"There are serious potholes on roads all over the District and in some areas we saw four inches of rain in a single night," Mr Jones told the monthly meeting of the nine Councillors for the area.

"It's very difficult to repair potholes in the current weather and we want to thank the public for their patience and for working with us. The weather was so bad at times that some roads were completely destroyed, despite having good storm water drainage systems - they were just overwhelmed by flash flooding," the Engineer said.

Councillor Micheál Lowry (IND) told the meeting that he feels the Municipal District does not have adequate manpower to cover an area the size of the Municipal District and that detailed knowledge of the local area has been lost.

"We need more bodies on the ground. The old system was better, when a man who knew the area inside out and knows all the water courses and how an area soaks up water, could go around with a crowbar and let off water.

"One man with a crowbar can let off a swimming pool worth of water better than a machine digging it out. Using the JCB to get in at it only makes it worse in some cases, because the bucket comes down and packs the drains," Cllr Lowry said.

The Holycross based Councillor was also critical of the ingredients used by the Council to make the tarmacadam mix used to build and later repair the roads.

"I've always disagreed with the mix used on the roads - it delaminates and comes out in clumps when a truck drives over it," he said.

The issue of the damaged road surface atop the Suir Bridge in the centre of Thurles was heavily criticised by several Councillors, with Cllr David Doran (SF) threatening to hold a public meeting on the issue if it is not remedied soon.

Cllr Doran said the Municipal Council are the "laughing stock of Tipperary" because of its failure to fix the bridge, which is so potholed that motorists are forced to swerve into the other lane against oncoming traffic to avoid gaping potholes.

The long-running issue of the seriously dilapidated N62 approach road to Templemore from the Roscrea side was also criticised by several Councillors, with Cllr John Hogan (FF) arguing the issue is even more urgent than the Suir Bridge in Thurles.

"The Templemore to Roscrea road is an absolute disgrace and it's in worse condition than the bridge in Thurles. This is has been going on for years and I cannot understand why Templemore is repeatedly ignored like this.

"I want an explanation from the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) about why this road is left like this. We called for safety measures to be put in and for the footpaths to be done also, but its just ignored and with no explanation - it's not good enough," Cllr Hogan said.

Templemore based Cllr Joe Bourke, who operates a filling station and small shop on the N62 on the section where the damage is worst, told the meeting that everyday he receives several complaints from people about the road.

"We were told 10 years ago there was going to be a big job done and we are so disappointed in Templemore to hear recently ' part of a two year road programme. This road is an absolute disgrace. Why is Templemore ignored on an ongoing basis like this?" Cllr Bourke asked.

Cllr Eddie Moran, who recently met with representatives from Transport Infrastructure Ireland, said he stressed the importance of the N62: "I told them if the Templemore to Roscrea road is not dealt with soon it will be closed down in six months because it will be impossible to drive on it. I told them someone will be killed on it and that it's almost undriveable at the moment."

Senior Engineer with Tipperary County Council, Michael F. Hayes, told the meeting that the TII have the final decision on what roads are the priority for repair.

"I know that the Templemore to Roscrea road is on their radar. They suggested a timeline of two years, but I think it will be sooner than that," he said.

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