Culloty's culvert cure for Tullig flooding

IT may pale in significance with what happened elsewhere in the country but the flooding here on January 24 was a real reminder that the weather can't be taken for granted.

IT may pale in significance with what happened elsewhere in the country but the flooding here on January 24 was a real reminder that the weather can't be taken for granted.

Before the big dredging job on the River Maine in the early 1960s, flooding in low-lying areas of the town was a common occurrence. Since then there have been occasional breaches after or during an exceptional downpour but they have been very rare.

However, Friday, January 24, was an exceptional day by any comparison with previous events. There were streams of water running down roads which had never, in living memory, been flooded.

Walsh's Garage in Tullig and its residential neighbours and the residents of Tonbwee on the Scart Road got the real frights on that day as the banks in the River Maine swelled and water lapped literally inches away from homes. Walsh's Garage was flooded by a foot of water, an event last seen there in 2008.

The causes are still being debated; the consequences are beyond doubt and the cures are being explored.

I got a call last week from Cllr. John Joe Culloty who said he had been asked to examine a culvert which takes the flow from the stream which flooded the Tullig area on that day.

The open stream crosses the Brosna Road beside the Glebe Lodge Residential House and flows down through the field at the back of the houses in Tullig. At the back of Walsh's Garage it flows into the culvert and across under the garage yard and under the Cordal Road and back to the River Maine. I travelled the culvert with Cllr. Culloty on Tuesday last and we discovered a joining which halves the volume of water the culvert can take. More pointedly, the joining there is flanged against the flow. This would be certain to halt any debris in a flood and create a dam there - with obvious consequences.

"I was asked by the residents of Tullig to investigate the culvert adjacent to Walsh's Garage, as this culvert was unable to take the volume of water which flowed into it on January 24 last, causing very serious flooding problems in the area," said Cllr. Culloty.

"When flood waters receded, I walked into the culvert at the rear of Walsh's Garage and noticed that this culvert has an opening of 18.6 sq. ft or 1.73 square metres. I proceeded walking along the culvert until I arrived at the point where the council pipe met with the culvert," he added.

The opening of this pipe has an area of 9.2 sq. ft. or .85 sq. mtrs. This pipe continues under the road, where it joins up with a pipe fitted by a resident, which is slightly bigger than the council pipe. As the council pipe is only half the size of the culvert, it is causing a bottleneck effect, which causes flooding at this point," Cllr. Culloty observed.

At Monday's Kerry County Council meeting, Cllr. Culloty asked: "That this council call on the Office of Public Works to provide emergency funding under the Minor Works Non Coastal Scheme, to remove the concrete pipes which go under the public road at Tullig, Castleisland, and replace them with culverts which match the existing culvert, thus eliminate the flooding at Tullig, and on the Brosna Road."

Cllr. Culloty also had a petition from the residents of the area who wish to see this essential work undertaken.

While Cllr. Bobby O'Connell and Cllr. Danny Healy-Rae are in agreement that the Glounsharoon River at Ballinahown needs urgent attention and silt removal at danger points; Cllr. John Joe Culloty - acting on local knowledge - has thrown another possible solution on the table.

However, the question remains: Who in the name of God signed off on the joining under the Cordal Road at Tullig?"

There were songs made about less.