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Friday 24 March 2017

Council's maintenance funding is halved

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

IN 2009, Wicklow County Council was given €20.6m by the Department of Transport to repair, maintain and improve its 1,962km of local and regional roads.

A year later, and after the worst winter since 1962, its funding has been cut by more than 50pc.

This year, the local authority has been allocated just €9.9m to maintain the network. The cost of repairing roads damaged during the winter will run to €14.1m.

While the county largely escaped the devastating floods that struck other parts of the country, Wicklow was hit with above-normal amounts of rainfall in November. The snow of December/January had a greater impact, with the Wicklow and Sally Gaps impassable for days.

The extreme conditions have ruined the surface of many roads, leaving the county's network scarred with potholes. The council estimates 123km of roads need to be repaired to bring them up to a safe standard.

Unfortunately for the 81,000 motorists in the county, there isn't enough money in the kitty to repair the damage.

A spokeswoman said the sudden thaw of snow and ice on January 15 and 16 caused most of the problems. Some roads will remain unrepaired, with the most heavily trafficked to be prioritised.

"The county council will prioritise the required works to make maximum use of the resources available," she said.

Irish Independent

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