‘These are vital routes for hundreds of people’, said Cathaoirleach Aidan Lombard (FG) at the monthly meeting of Bandon-Kinsale Municipal District when moving a motion calling on Cork County Council to include two roads in the MD in its Winter Service Plan (e.g. salt de-icing).
He specifically asked that the plan be amended to include the R611 from Carrigaline to Ballyfeard and Belgooly and the R607 from Kinsale to The Rising Sun and Half Way. For both strategic regional roads not be included in any of the three priority lists outlined in the plan was unacceptable, he contended.
Cllr Lombard said he was talking about a huge geographical area of the MD not covered under the plan for treatment of roads in winter. However, he did acknowledge the good work of council staff on roads in bad weather.
Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind) spoke in support. During snowfall on a recent morning, all Cork bound traffic seemed to be directed on the N71 which couldn’t cope with the volume and the result was chaos. He believed there would have to be another route made accessible to the city under the winter plan.
Cllrs Gillian Coughlan (FF), Kevin Murphy (FG), and Lombard agreed. Overall, it was felt the winter plan wasn’t adequate and would have to be re-visited or examined by the roads strategic policy committee.
Senior executive engineer Charlie McCarthy said he would raise the issue with the relevant officials but pointed out there was only a certain limit of capacity for the salters within the time required for de-icing. There was also the difficulty that even when salted, a road could become icy again, if the temperature dropped a few hours later, potentially making it hazardous for the crews themselves.
Executive engineer Brendan Fehily said winters were actually getting milder, it was many years since there had been four days in a row of snow (as happened in 2018) and having machines idle in a yard was costly. He agreed with Cllr Coleman for concentrating on keeping more main routes open.
Overall, Mr McCarthy added, it was very difficult to plan and it was down to prioritising. This prompted Cllr Lombard to quip regarding his motion: ‘That’s the longest ‘No’ I ever got!’ but was assured his proposal would be considered as to feasibility.
Cllr Murphy called for reinstatement of a wall near Belgooly GAA club that was demolished by heavy traffic many years ago when the road was a detour route during construction of the Dan Desmond and Frank Hurley Bridges on the R600. The same happened when a road at Carrigavaleen, Dromdough, Ballinspittle became a detour route. He understood there could be funds available for these.
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