Frustrated locals get to grits with neglected road
FRUSTRATED locals took matters into their own hands yesterday afternoon when they armed themselves with shovels and gravel to grit a road that had been left untreated by the local authority.
The R251 or 'Back of Errigal' Road is the main artery linking the west Donegal Gaeltacht with Letterkenny but has remained closed because of treacherous driving conditions for most of the past three weeks.
But yesterday, locals who had "had enough" spent the afternoon spreading 50 tonnes of grit which they got from Donegal County Council along almost 26km of the mountain road on which 1,600 cars pass daily.
The 20 volunteers used two lorries donated free of charge from Danny Kearney's Plant Hire in Falcarragh to make the road usable again.
"We are saying 'enough is enough'. A survey carried out by Donegal County Council has shown that 1,600 cars use this road every day with people travelling to work or to hospital appointments or other business. The diversion around the coast adds 35 minutes to your travel time," explained Dunlewey-based garage and shop owner, Kieran Roarty.
He has estimated that the road closure has resulted in a 70pc decline in his business.
"We feel completely abandoned. This road is important not just from a business point of view but from a human point of view as well and we want it open," he said.
A spokesperson for Donegal County Council confirmed last night that the shortage of salt had left the council unable to treat the road to the standard it required.