Thursday 13 December 2018

Urgent repair works carried out as 50C road temperatures cause tar surfaces to melt

Melting tar on tyres (Photo: Garda Checkpoints & Speed Cameras Galway)
Melting tar on tyres (Photo: Garda Checkpoints & Speed Cameras Galway)
Melting tar on tyres (Photo: Garda Checkpoints & Speed Cameras Galway)
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

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.

Melting tar on tyres (Photo: Garda Checkpoints & Speed Cameras Galway)
Melting tar on tyres (Photo: Garda Checkpoints & Speed Cameras Galway)

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.

“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.

Clodagh Howley Mulhall (5) and Katie George Brennan (3) having fun in Loughshinny
Pic: Mark Condren
Clodagh Howley Mulhall (5) and Katie George Brennan (3) having fun in Loughshinny Pic: Mark Condren
Sophie Ducasse (5) having fun in Skerries Pic:Mark Condren
Lauren Chaney and her brother Darragh enjoying the sun on Bull Island Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Gaving fun on Skerries beach Photo: Mark Condren
Cael Skehan enjoying the weather on Bull Island Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
President Michael D Higgins. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Priya Murphy Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
A temperature scale on a beach shows high temperatures during a heat wave.
Lucia Pivarci enjoying the weather on Bull Island Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
HOT: Sunbathers at Brittas Bay yesterday. Photo: Neil Carson
Michelle Moore & Maura Lynskey enjoying the good weather on Bull Island, Dublin Photo Gareth Chaney Collins
Gallagher Brothers (L to R) Conor 4 & 3 Alex both from Maynooth enjoying the good weather in Stephens Green,Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Roly the Tibetan terrier & Kate O'Callaghan from Sutton enjoying the good weather in Stephens Green,Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Mayara Agappes orignally from Sao Paulo Brazil but now living in Kilmainham enjoying the good weather in Stephens Green,Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
People enjoying the good weather in Stephens Green,Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Have a photo of a road near you? Send them to contact@independent.ie

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