Tuesday 21 August 2018

Transport services to resume but warnings remain in place as roads still treacherous

 

STILL DANGEROUS: An empty N4 pictured yesterday afternoon in Lucan Co Dublin. PHOTO: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
STILL DANGEROUS: An empty N4 pictured yesterday afternoon in Lucan Co Dublin. PHOTO: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Vigilant: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar urged road caution. Picture: RollingNews.ie

Alan O'Keeffe

Road travel and public transport services are expected slowly to get back to normal as the thaw continues.

The heavy snowfalls that continued into the early hours of yesterday caused headaches for bus, train, ferry and airline operators hoping to resume services to deal with the backlog of tens of thousands of passengers stranded since last Wednesday.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said yesterday that people should continue to stay off roads where possible and only travel if they were working for an essential service.

He added that severe weather warnings were remaining in place because he didn't want to "lull people into a false sense of security".

He said motorists should watch out for risks of localised flooding caused by widespread thawing along the roads networks.

Irish Rail said most rail services will be operational today and a full service will resume tomorrow. Dart services resumed at midday yesterday and Heuston Station re-opened later in the day.

Aer Lingus services will be back to normal today. There were flight disruptions yesterday because staff travel to airports was hit by reduced public transport.

A Dublin Airport spokesman said the airport was fully operational from 5am yesterday. Airport staff removed 400,000 tonnes of snow from 600 acres of pavement in recent days, he said.

Cork, Shannon and Kerry airports had hoped to resume full scheduled services from 6am yesterday but the snowfalls put paid to those plans, with Aer Lingus and Ryanair having to cancel more than 100 flights.

Cork Airport crews were desperately clearing runways amid plans to resume flight operations by 2pm.

Ryanair cancelled a number of flights to and from Dublin Airport yesterday as a consequence of the severe weather.

A Ryanair spokesman said the airline was doing everything it could to re-accommodate affected customers and minimise disruption to travel plans. The disruptions were "entirely outside of our control", he said.

Some Dublin Bus services resumed at noon yesterday and regular services were expected to return to normal today.

The Luas Green Line was not in operation yesterday and the timing of services today will depend on track inspections.

The Luas Red Line will operate between the Red Cow and The Point. There will be no service from Red Cow to Tallaght, Red Cow to Saggart.

There was still up to 5ft of snow on the Green Line at stops south of St Stephen's Green (Sandyford, Brides Glen direction).

Flooding caused by the thaw was likely to cause problem on road networks in the coming days.

Road conditions remain challenging and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and gardai urged people to only undertake necessary journeys until conditions improve.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) called on motorists not to be lulled into a false sense of security following the lifting of the red weather warning.

Orange warnings in Leinster, Munster, Cavan and Monaghan were extended to noon today.

The authority said drivers should remove all snow from vehicles before starting a journey. Snow left on the roof can drop on to the windscreen during braking, causing sudden and severe restriction to vision.

Road users also need to remain vigilant as slush builds up at road sides. There was a risk of flooding as the thaw starts and this increased the risk of aquaplaning.

Drivers should ensure windshield washers are full and lights kept clear of grime and dirt. Pedestrians were urged not to walk in the street to avoid snowy paths as "cars and trucks slip and slide, too", said the authority.

Sunday Independent

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