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Council on target with road works

Clare County Council is on target to complete its current roadworks programme in East Clare by the end of this year, according to a local authority engineer.
Senior executive engineer, Hugh McGrath told a recent Killaloe Electoral Area meeting that most of the council’s surface dressing work on roads was almost complete, apart from a few small Local Improvement Schemes in locations such as Truagh, Killaloe and O’Briensbridge.
With tender proposals for improvements to the Mountshannon Road out of Scariff due last Friday, he predicted work on the route, which may need a road closure for a day or two, should take place during the first week in November.
Mr McGrath told councillors work under the Low Cost Safety Scheme was due in Killnoe Cross, a mile from Bodyke, where a local road branches off from the regional road, the so-called golf course road at Coolrea, Bodyke.
The council is planning to provide new kerbing at Killnoe Cross to encourage motorists to remain on the regional road instead of using the local road at this location as a short cut to avoid going through all of Bodyke village.
Following recent drainage works at Ballyblood, Tulla, which links Tulla and Kilkishen, Mr McGrath anticipated the road widening and resurfacing works should be completed by the local authority in the middle of November.
Electoral area chairman, Councillor Joe Cooney, complimented the council on the great work that was being completed throughout East Clare, where roads were being brought up to a decent standard.
Councillor Cooney singled out the Tulla to Killaloe Road for high praise following “trojan work” carried out in recent months.
However, the Fine Gael councillor also called on the council to cut the hedge on local roads, which were subjected to increased levels of diverted traffic, as alternative routes following the closure of nearby roads during repair work. He also asked the council to confirm when the new Velosity Patcher was due for delivery.
Welcoming plans for the provision of a new pedestrian footpath on the Mountshannon Road, Scariff, as well as tarring the overlay of the road surface, Councillor Cooney predicted the new footpath would be of great benefit for locals, particularly walkers and teenagers.
Councillor Pat Hayes also welcomed the great work being completed on the Ballyblood road and hoped the council could get funding for more road improvement works.
He expressed concern about the poor condition of the road surface in Feakle as a result of the sewerage treatment works in the area and wondered when this would be improved by the council.
Concern about the possibility of delays for new road works under the Low Cost Safety Scheme was expressed by Councillor Michael Begley, who asked if any new work would be delayed as a result of a lack of resources in the regional Road Design Office.
Mr McGrath confirmed the county council would receive its second Velosity Patcher next month and assured councillors, if this machine wasn’t readily available for work in East Clare, the local authority would fill potholes on an interim basis with its own road crews.
Commenting on the Ballyblood road works, he recalled that there wasn’t enough time to put road closures in place but diversions were put in place.
Acknowledging hedges should be cut on diversion routes, he pledged that this is something the council should address in future projects. Addressing queries about the roads in Feakle, the engineer explained he didn’t want to do a rough job in haste, as he wanted to liase with the local community concerning a number of issues, such as drainage and footpath.
He pledged that work should start on improving roads in Feakle in late spring or early summer next year.
While the regional Road Design Office didn’t have the resources it required, Mr McGrath assured Councillor Begley this would not have an adverse affect on the Low Cost Safety Schemes, as funding was only available for a small number, which he could design himself or get someone in the council to design a project, if this was required.
In reply to Councillor Pat Burke, Mr McGrath said the county council would have two Velosity Patchers on a full time basis and the one, which broke down, was replaced.
It costs about €187,000 to purchase a new Velocity Patcher while the council also has the option of hiring one at a cost of €4,000 a week.
It is estimated a Velocity Patcher had the capacity to deal up to seven tonnes of material a day filling potholes.
Velocity patching has revolutionised everyday road maintenance, dramatically impacting on the ease, quality and cost effectiveness of road repair. A Velocity Patcher is a single operator vehicle that maximises the effectiveness and efficiency of fixing potholes.
Councillor Burke also requested an update on the council’s hedge-cutting policy in East Clare and said the authority had written to land owners informing them of their obligations under national legislation last year.
Mr McGrath confirmed he was aware of the council’s strategy on a county basis, which was being implemented in East Clare.
He stated the council would write letters to land owners who hadn’t taken action following the issuing of letters last year, which had in the majority of cases worked very well. He added there was an obligation on landowners to keep their hedges cut back.

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