€500k plus bill expected for Ross area alone
It was 11 and a half hours of flooding, but it will take weeks and months to clear the debris up
Wexford County Council staff – who spent days repairing roads and water systems over the Christmas holidays – including on Christmas Day – have been praised for their efforts.
New Ross area engineer Eilís Furlong played a video showing torrents of water flooding through what were once bridges in the district, at the municipal district meeting in St Michael’s Theatre.
"Today is a lovely day so it’s difficult to picture what our workers faced on Christmas Day,” Ms Furlong said.
The ferocity of the water flow at the site of the old bridge in Shanoule, Foulksmills, was clearly audible in the video.
Ms Furlong said two bridges were washed away, at Chapel in Raheen and Shanoule, adding that there was damage to many roads and some other bridges.
“Consultants have been secured to work on them. We believe we can repair the bridge in Raheen where the whole surface of the road was ripped up and the Adamstown road was badly damaged. We have a large number of roads that have been damaged in smaller, localised areas. It was 11 and a half hours of flooding, but it will take weeks and months to clear the debris up.”
She said 90pc of the roads crew’s workload was on repairing roads and bridges in the first few weeks of 2022.
An application is being made to the OPW for funding to replace the bridges.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Bridín Murphy praised the council staff for their work. “The crews went above and beyond on Christmas Day to protect public safety. Thankfully no one was injured and there were no fatalities.”
Cllr Michael Whelan also heaped praise on the staff, adding that he hopes the cost of repairing Chapel Bridge and other structures doesn't affect the roads budget.
He said the bridge near the water treatment plant near Fethard was baldy damaged, adding that even though it isn’t in the New Ross district, focus needs to be on it.
Cllr John Fleming said: “I think people realise it wasn’t anyone’s fault. We just don’t know how long it’s going to take. I had a look at Raheen bridge and it seems a culvert at the centre has moved. I hope it can be repaired.”
Cllr Michael Sheehan said: “The work you all did over Christmas was amazing. The bridge towards Newbawn and the Horse & Hound took one hell of a battering but thankfully didn’t fall.””
Cllr Pat Barden said he was delighted to see work already start at Shanoule. “Three or four residents couldn’t get out it was so bad and there were holes on one side. People don’t realise what is involved in getting these bridges done.
"It’s not as simple as a two to three week job. There are a lot of consultants who have to be consulted and preliminary works have to be done.”
Council director of services for roads, Eamonn Hore said he was proud of the outdoor staff.
“I know people who were affected by the floods deserve our sympathy but lots of roads workers missed their Christmas and beyond. The evidence is not there that if we kept the drains opened the flooding wouldn’t have happened. I don’t think our lads could have done anymore.”
Mr Hore said he was assured by the two Government ministers that the €3.6m bill for repair works in Co Wexford would be met.
"The bridges will be repaired in stone. We will use reinforced concrete. You don’t want to start buying culverts that are smaller than the original ones.”
Executive area water services engineer, Dan McCartan said there were many water issues due to the flooding on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and high winds also.
"We had raw water from the rivers. Our major plants were working non stop power Christmas keeping the process going because of the poor raw water quality. There were knock on effects in terms of power outages and equipment getting damaged so nearly all our staff and our contractors were out on Christmas Day and on the bank holiday for Ne Year’s as well. They all made a significant effort to make sure people had drinking water throughout.”
Cllr Murphy praised the water services staff for ensuring the continuity of water supply.