Urgent repair works carried out as 50C road temperatures cause tar surfaces to melt
TAR has melted on some regional roads as the blazing sun pushed road temperatures above 50C in parts of the country.
Councils in Mayo, Sligo and Galway were forced to spread chipping and carry out emergency works as melting tar affected the network.
Road temperatures are typically 10C to 15C higher than air temperatures, but can exceed this in some cases.
At 10.10am yesterday, the road temperature of the Dublin Port Tunnel was 31.6C, when the air temperature was 21C. The highest road temperature at that point was 46.1C on the N72 at Fermoy, Co Cork, data from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) shows.
But by 5pm, those temperatures had been exceeded.
The Dublin Port tunnel had risen to 33.9C, with an air temperature of 22.6C. The N72 had risen to 48.7C, while the highest recorded road temperature was 51.7C on the N3 in Kells, Co Meath.
The national network, comprising motorways and heavily trafficked roads, were not affected, as they are designed to withstand extremes of temperature.
However, local and regional roads were hit, with works carried out around Castlebar in Mayo, near Ballisodare in Sligo, and in parts of Connemara over recent days.
“Our motorways and national primaries are designed to European standards to deal with fluctuations in seasonal temperatures,” a TII spokesman said.
“The primary concerns are the local and regional roads which are chip and tar, and the local authorities are dealing with issues there by adding additional chip materials.
Road Safety Alert: Our gritters are on standby to deal with melting roads in the blazing sunshine. Gritters can be used for hail and in this case shine!— Mayo County Council (@MayoCoCo) June 26, 2018
Please be aware and drive carefully. pic.twitter.com/W28Q45FA1K
“It’s common that this work is done, however, more is being done because of the duration of these high temperatures. Local authorities are doing it as the need arises.”
Conor Faughnan from the AA said the main issues arose because heavy vehicles could cause ruts to form in the road surface, which if left unfilled would result in permanent damage.
Local authorities were spreading chipping to prevent further damage.
“We have 90,000km of local and regional roads, and much of dates from the 19th century,” Mr Faughnan said.
“Much of it was never dug down to foundation level and engineered. Some of those roads suffer in winter, in heavy flooding as the chip and tar wash away, and they suffer in weather like this. Heavy vehicles rut the road and when the temperature drops, the rut is permanent.”
He added that it made more financial sense to repair these routes than to rebuild the road.
Have a photo of a road near you? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org