CLARE County Council will have put off over €13 million worth of road repairs by the end of 2010 as a result of a lack of funding, it emerged at a council meeting this week.
Councillor Joe Arkins said that this shortfall in funding for necessary road works would lead to a “crumbling of Clare’s road network”.
“We have to carefully consider the condition of our country roads because they are literally crumbling before our eyes. In the region of €6 million worth of road works were not completed last year because we didn’t have the means to do it. This year again, we are looking at more than €6 million worth of works being postponed, with a cumulative effect of over €13 million necessary road works not being done due to a lack of funding. If it’s postponed and postponed, eventually minor roads will be in such a state that it will cost millions and million to restore them,” he commented.
Senior executive engineer Tom Tiernan acknowledged that the level of funding allocated to the council’s 2010 roadworks programme by the Department of Transport was “minimal” and a “step backwards”.
The council has a fund of almost €25,000,000 which Mr Tiernan said is 7.7% less than last year’s allocation. He added, “This is somewhat deceptive in that both sets of figures include allocations for major projects which are either substantially complete, such as Ennis bypass, or only at planning or design stage, like the Killaloe bypass/Shannon crossing. In real terms, these don’t have a bearing on the roadworks programme to be implemented”.
Mr Tiernan also said that while an increase of any extent is welcome in the current economic climate, the current allocation represents “a step backwards” particularly in light of the extent of road damage which had to be dealt with during recent weather events.
He went on to say that an assessment of the road network showed that it would cost approximately €11 million to restore the county’s roads to the condition they were on November 1, 2009.