Monday 19 August 2019

Better safe than sorry: gearing up for icy roads

WEXFORD County Council is preparing to hit the ground running in the event of another big freeze this winter.

The prospect of arctic weather and the local authority's emergency response will be discussed at a meeting of the transport policy committee this week.

The icy issue was raised at a Council meeting last week by Cllr Michael Kinsella, who said forecasters were talking about a blizzard coming in October. 'I think it's time we started thinking about it again,' he said.

Director of Services Tony Larkin reassured him that the council is actively planning for the winter.

'Generally, we are trying to learn from what has been done over the past 18 months and come up with best practice from it.'

He said the emergency plan would operate in addition to the normal winter maintenance programme of gritting and salting.

He indicated that he didn't think there was a need to distribute snow ploughs to contractors yet, as suggested by Cllr Kinsella. 'We will be reviewing that on an ongoing basis,' he said.

Mr Larkin told councillors that this year's salt allocation is considered by council engineers to be 'adequate'.

It was enough for a bad winter but not a terrible winter, although a national reserve is being created.

Cllr Pat Cody said that some people might consider the Council is being pessimistic, but 'forewarned is forearmed,' he said.

Councillors welcomed a recent increase in the Government's winter maintenance grant from €356,260 to €400,793, to help the local authority cope with arctic conditions.

The additional funding of €44,000 will help towards the cost of buying, storing and spreading salt.'

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