independent

Saturday 20 January 2018

Salt is running out

CONOR CULLEN

WEXFORD County Council is struggling to keep even national roads open as it has almost run out of salt, with its supplies due to run out later today ( Wednesday). Salt supplies were on a knife edge last night (Tuesday), and even though the council was due to collect 90 tonnes at Dublin Port at 4 a.m. today, even this would only be enough for a further half day of spreading.

And while the council remains hopeful of getting more supplies from the NRA as the week goes on, the shortage means that it has had to scale back the extent to which it uses salt on the county's roads.

Normally, Co. Wexford requires about 220 tonnes of salt each day during snowfalls – 160 tonnes for national and key regional routes, and a further 60 for towns and some villages. Now, however, salt is only being used – as sparingly as possible – on the national routes, the M11, N11, N25, N30 and N80.

'As things stand, we have just about enough salt to keep us going until Wednesday morning,' senior executive roads engineer Eddie Taaffe said yesterday.

There is only the less-effective grit for what are considered the key regional routes, including the Duncannon New Line as far as Wellingtonbridge and the route into Wexford Bridge from the Rosslare Roundabout. However, most regional routes remained in a treacherous condition yesterday evening.

The National Roads Authority (NRA) remains in control of salt supplies and is issuing it on a rationed basis to local authorities around the country. Its own supplies are at a critical level.

The first headache for Wexford County Council yesterday was clearing the snow so the salt and grit they had could be spread.

'We have four snow blades, seven graders and over a dozen blades hired from agricultural contractors with priority given to the national roads, then the regional routes, followed by roads into villages,' Mr Taaffe said yesterday.

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