CLARE County Council has access to more than 3,000 tonnes of rock salt to treat the county’s roads during the coming winter.
A third of the available salt stock is currently in storage and has been held over from last winter, which was one of the mildest in recent years. An additional 2,000 tonnes of salt is available to the council to draw down when required from the National Roads Authority (NRA) and the Department of Transport (DTTAS).
Council staff have already participated in their first road treatment operation of the winter. The surface temperature dropped low enough last weekend for a number of trucks to be dispatched from the local authority’s maintenance facility at Beechpark, near Ennis.
Senior engineer, Tom Tiernan confirmed that the availability of more than 3,000 tonnes of salt was the same as what was made available to the council during last winter.
These stocks will be used to treat strategic national, excluding the motorway network and non-national routes around the county during the coming weeks and months.
“For the first time the county’s motorway and dual carriageways will be treated directly by the NRA, which assumed responsibility for the national motorway network earlier this year,” Mr Tiernan said.
The winters of 2011/12 and 2012/13 were much milder than the previous two winters with above average temperatures recorded across County Clare.
However, spring 2013 was colder than average. Late November and December 2010 brought prolonged periods of cold weather leading to significant disruption to traffic and travel across the county. Mercury levels dipped to a seasonal low of minus 11.4c at Shannon Airport.
The “Big Freeze” of December 2009 and January 2010 also saw record low temperatures being broken.
Meanwhile, Clare County Council is urging members of the public to view its advice and information guide, which is aimed at raising awareness of the importance of preparing for severe weather during winter.
The ‘Be Winter-Ready’ guide is available on the Council website, www.clarecoco.ie, and is part of a Government initiative launched in 2011. The guide features flooding advice, tips on how to reduce the risk of water leakages and shortages during freezing weather, advice on clearing snow, safety tips for driving in snow and ice, and information for the farming community, as well as a range of other public health and safety advice.