Force private firms to repair roads they damage, says lord mayor

Private contractors and utility companies should be made pay for road repairs if their roadworks are to blame for potholes.

That’s the view of Cork City’s Lord Mayor John Buttimer who called last night for an audit of all road works undertaken by private contractors and utility companies within the city over the past five years.

It follows a huge surge in complaints from the public about the worsening conditions of city centre and suburban roads.

“A lot of difficulties appear to be in locations where private or public utility companies have dug trenches in the road and the reinstatement work does not appear to match or equal the quality of the initial state of the road,” he said.

“These service trenches are subsiding, beginning to crumble and fall apart.

“The current state of the roads are a danger to all users, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike.”

Mr Buttimer said where there was evidence of poor quality of workmanship or materials, the company responsible should be made liable to reinstate the road again to a higher standard.

“It is intolerable that Cork City Council or the people of Cork should pay the price for the shoddy work of others,” Mr Buttimer said.

During the boom years, the city council invested heavily in local estate road resurfacing. But now that local authorities are strapped for cash, there just isn’t enough money to fund the repairs that need to be done.

City manager Tim Lucey has made €400,000 available under a capital roads programme over the next two years.

But Mr Buttimer said this won’t be anywhere near enough to adequately address the current crisis situation.

He has now written to Environment Minister Phil Hogan seeking additional funding for the protection of the local road network.

He has also called on Mr Hogan to urgently repay the monies withheld from the 2012 local government grant arising from the non collection of the household charge, and he has asked him to give greater autonomy to the city council in determining how it should spend the block grants for road maintenance that are due to be paid out over the coming months.

The Irish Farmers’ Association called on the Road Safety Authority of Ireland over the weekend to conduct a safety audit of rural roads amid growing concerns for the state of some rural stretches.

Meanwhile, motorists have been encouraged to log on to the Cork Potholes page on Facebook to make complaints about some of the region’s worst roads.

The page is also tracking the progress of repairs when they happen.

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