A state agency this year expects to spend at least €5.3m on salt to keep the country’s road network moving during winter blizzards.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland — formerly the National Roads Authority — last year spent €5.3m on the purchasing and spreading of 100,000 tonnes of rock and marine salt across the country’s primary, secondary and local road network.

Communications manager with the agency, Sean O’Neill said yesterday last winter there were 40,000 tonnes of salt spread on the country’s national network with an extra 60,000 tonnes on the country’s local and regional network.

Mr O’Neill said: “This amount was required even though last winter was quite mild and we need to have stocks of salt in place in case we get a very cold winter that would result in a drain in resources.”

Mr O’Neill said the projected spend for the winter of 2016/17 will be of the order of €5.3m and could be greater.

He said that the great advantage of the contracts that Transport Infrastructure Ireland has in place with suppliers is that it allows it order more salt on a speedily.

In 2010/ 11, supplies of salt dwindled to dangerously low levels and the country was down to its last few thousand tonnes as blizzards brought the country to a standstill.

Mr O’Neill said: “One of the lessons learned from the winter of 2010/11 was the need to have the ability to order in additional supplies quickly”, adding that Ireland had been “caught in the queue”.”

Transport Infrastructure Ireland last year received five tenders for the work and three Northern Ireland firms along with two firms based in Dublin and Kilkenny securing the contracts.


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