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Wednesday 30 July 2014

Just €14 per bridge for survey

Kevin Hughes

Published 01/01/2014|05:36

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Ballinagar bridge outside Lixnaw which collapsed under the weight of a truck-load of pigs in February 2007.

THE Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has allocated €50,000 for a structural overview of Kerry's bridges but with almost 3,500 bridges spanning rivers and streams in the county the cash amounts to just over €14 per bridge.

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THE Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has allocated €50,000 for a structural overview of Kerry's bridges but with almost 3,500 bridges spanning rivers and streams in the county the cash amounts to just over €14 per bridge.

With many of Kerry's bridges dating back to the days of the horse and cart, many are showing worrying signs of wear of tear under the weight of modern traffic.

There have been several collapses in recent years including in Beaufort at the Gaddagh and Spiddeog bridges, as well as on the Ballaghisheen Pass and at Ballingare in Ballyduff.

Worrying subsidence on the Killorglin Bridge over the River Laune, widely regarded as Kerry's busiest bridge, has also had to be addressed in recent years.

Last year the NRA did not provide any funding directly to the council to undertake maintenance or widening works on bridges. Funding from the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport amounted to just €25,000 for the strengthening of the Gweestin Bridge and €100,000 for the reconstruction of the Teeranearagh Culvert in Cahersiveen.

The figure quoted for the proposed structural overview caters solely for regional bridges and so the tally of bridges serving regional roads is therefore only a proportion of the 3,500 estimated across Kerry. However, the allocation of funding was met with ridicule at a recent area meeting of the council.

"The proof of the pudding was in Beaufort with the bridge collapses there," Cllr Brendan Cronin said.

"A figure of €50,000 is simply ridiculous in a county that depends so much on tourism. It's less than €15 per bridge and the relevant departments have to come together in a consistent fashion on this and solve any potential problems," he added.

Kerryman

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