By Darragh Kelly
Roscommon County Council is facing “major challenges’ in maintaining local and secondary routes in the county, following the recent wintry conditions, Senior Roads Engineer Eugene Dywer has conceded.
There are particular concerns that the recent wintry spell will cause road surfaces to deteriorate causing potholes and poor road conditions throughout the country, particularly on local and access roads.
While Roscommon didn’t experience the brunt of the arcticconditions as experienced in other parts of the country, a number of major roads in the south of the county were impassable for a period last Friday morning, as strong winds and intermittent snow showers caused drifting.
Among the roads affected were the N61 Sligo to Athlone road, south of Roscommon Town; the N63 Lanesboro to Galway road and the N60 Roscommon to Castlerea road particularly near Oran. However, council crews cleared the blockages by 11 a.m. on Friday morning.
“The roads in the north of the county, around Boyle, Castlerea, Elphin, and Tulsk were largely ok but the roads in the south of the county, in Roscommon Town and south of it, were affected,” said Mr Dwyer.
“In the south of the county, there was some serious drifting on side roads. And while our gritting concentrated on the main routes, we did send a gritter out on the N63 serving Athleague, Four Roads and Dysart as this is a route normally used by local residents accessing hospital services in the likes of Galway,” Mr Dywer said.
The senior roads engineer explained that council outdoor staff were gritting on average four runs each evening and also during the day and an extra two thousand tonnes of salt were delivered to the council’s depots during last week’s wintery weather.
“I’m not worried about the state of national and regional roads, but local roads were in a bad way,” conceded Mr Dwyer.
A statement from the Roscommon County Council this week acknowledged the work of the Local Emergency Response team who met regularly since last Thursday morning and the staff who ensured the public were kept informed of the situation.
“In particular, the council would like to acknowledge and thank all of the frontline staff who worked throughout the weekend to clear roads, and to the local contractors, farmers and numerous volunteers who spent many hours clearing snowdrifts. Thanks to the Fire Services and Civil Defence personnel who also worked all weekend with the HSE and those in need of supplies,” said the statement.