| 5.8°C Dublin

8,000 tonnes of salt to keep ice off city streets

MORE than 8,000 tonnes of salt worth about €350,000 has been stockpiled by Dublin local authorities to keep the capital's roads clear this winter.

The mountain of de-icing salt is being stored in depots around the city and county with the four councils operating a fleet of 37 trucks to spread it on icy roads.

With temperatures set to go as low as -4 degrees in the capital last night, council crews were out in force to keep the roads clear.

Motorways like the M50 ringroad, the M1 in North Dublin and M11 to the south are among the main areas targeted for de-icing by the National Roads Authority (NRA).

The councils are also taking care of national primary, secondary and regional roads as well as bus routes in their areas to keep the city moving if we are hit with snow and ice of the kind seen in 2010 and the start of 2011.

The NRA came in for criticism that winter as much of the country ground to a halt amid treacherous roads and a shortage of salt. This year the agency appears to be well prepared, stockpiling 238,000 tonnes of salt and grit nationwide.

The NRA released the figure to the Herald under the Freedom of Information Act, but refused to supply copies of the invoices from suppliers saying they are "commercially sensitive".

However, the agency explained that the cost of salt ranged between €43.50 and €45.70 in 2014, meaning their stockpile is worth between €10.3m and €10.8m.

A NRA confirmed that €1.8m was spent on purchases this year.

Meanwhile, it spent €4.9m buying 60 salt spreading vehicles and 74 snow blades for trucks since 2010.