Monday 24 June 2019

Work continuing to get blocked roads back open

County council aims to have all roads 'passable' by this evening

The streets being cleared in Blessington on Friday afternoon
The streets being cleared in Blessington on Friday afternoon

Deborah Coleman

Wicklow County Council staff, private contractors and many dedicated volunteers continue to work to clear roads in some of the more isolated parts of County Wicklow after a long and very busy week.

According to the Director of Services for Roads at Wicklow County Council, Sean Quirke, all roads throughout the county should be passable by this evening (Wednesday).

'We hope to have all roads passable but, by that, I mean that in many cases it will still be one lane. In the days that follow, we will be working to fully clear them and remove some of the channels which have built up on either side on some routes,' he said.

These channels are up to three feet high in some areas and clearing these heavily snow-laden areas has been quite a challenge for the local authority.

'Our crews have been flat-out for the past week and are still working. The Civil Defence has been assisting the HSE with humanitarian aid and assisting residents where needed,' Mr Quirke said.

The council has taken the approach of clearing roads from the top down - first the regional roads down to secondary and then local roads and has been trying to keep local staff in each local area.

'We are conscious not to redeploy staff out of their areas as they are still needed in more rural areas,' he added.

According to Mr Quirke, there are some areas of the county which, on Tuesday, were still under a very thick blanket of snow and in need of machinery to clear the significant drifts experienced.

'Areas around Blessington and Manor Kilbride and other parts of west Wicklow down to Knockananna, Tinahely and Aughavannagh are still very bad and we are doing our utmost to get them cleared as quickly as possible,' he said.

On Tuesday, a number of roads remained impassable, including from Roundwood to Laragh and up through the Sally Gap, Kilbride, Glencree, from Askinagap to Ballygobban looping around to Knocknashamroge and down to Moyne, near Rathshanmore and Hill Picket near Avoca.

Yesterday, the council appealed to local farmers and plant hire contractors to work with council staff to get roads cleared in the remaining areas and extended thanks to the public for the 'magnificent response to tackling the after-effects of this unprecedented weather event'.

Bray People