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If a new meals on wheels service is provided for people living in rural isolated parts of West Clare, he said this will not happen if roads are not gritted during a cold snap.

Call for west Clare roads to be bumped up winter gritting list

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A WEST Clare councillor has called for the reclassification of regional roads in the district to facilitate more regular gritting during a cold snap.

Councillor Murphy proposed the R487, R488 between Kilkee, Carrigaholt and Kilbaha, and the R473 between Kildysart and Labasheeda, be included as strategic regional routes in future winter service plans as Priority Two.

Speaking at a recent West Clare Municipal District meeting, Councillor Murphy said these two strategic regional routes were not included in the Winter Plan for treating roads, despite the fact they served significant populations.

The Kilkee Councillor said the R487 is effectively a main road to the Loop Head Peninsula for about 3,000 people.

“These roads should be treated as Priority Two, which means their treatment will not be done on an ad-hoc basis. This would ensure they are a core part of the treatment of roads rather than we will get to them if we can.

“This is exactly the kind of stuff that local county councillors should be looking at instead of trying to get our overworked staff to do an extra little bit. Instead, it is about making sure there is a policy behind it to ensure it gets included in the work programme.”

If a new meals on wheels service is provided for people living in rural isolated parts of West Clare, he said this will not happen if roads are not gritted during a cold snap.

He recalled the school bus couldn’t bring children to Kilkee Community College when the road was deemed to be unsafe for public transport.

This resulted in between 35 and 50 cars travelling on an ungritted road to bring children to secondary school.

Councillor Gabriel Keating said he fails to understand why one road is deemed to be more important than another.

“There are people living on all roads. They deserve the same treatment as the roads that need to be treated. All the roads need to be treated. You have schools and various things going on in villages. To tell me we are salting the road today, we will not do it the following day but we will do it the day after. That doesn’t make sense to me.

“I want to ask engineers to ensure all roads are treated equally in relation to the salting of the roads.”

Councillor Joe Killeen said the council priority is to cover as much of the roads to give the greatest yield in terms of population concerning people travelling these roads.

Acknowledging one or two roads in North Clare were not gritted recently, he said people could still travel on gritted roads to get to their destination.

He said councillors would have the opportunity to highlight areas for improvement when this issue is reviewed by the council in the near future.

He recalled the council’s road staff went to great efforts to accommodate as many schools as possible by gritting roads during the cold snap.

Senior Executive Engineer in Roads and Transportation, Anne O’Sullivan recalled during the recent long cold snap in December, that Priority Three routes were treated twice each day. 

Priority Three covers all routes on winter maintenance plan and includes both Priority One and Priority Two routes. This comprises 17% of the network in Clare, which carries approximately 70% of the traffic volume. 

This is significant coverage and is above the national average.  With this winter maintenance plan, Clare is operating at full capacity over its seven winter maintenance salting routes.

“A further review will take place in the coming months which will include a review of the recent cold snap and concerns raised,” she said. 

“The council will also review local arrangements and where we can make further improvement to coverage in the Municipal District.”

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