Frost damage to roads in Co Cork is likely to further compound the damage from the rainfall during the recent Storm Frank.
The warning came from Cork County Council’s chief executive Tim Lucey, who issued an update report yesterday on repairs following the December 30 storm.
Still awaiting an allocation from central government for work on storm-damaged infrastructure, Mr Lucey said he gave permission for area engineers to carry out urgent repairs.
Area engineers, he said, had been given discretion to engage contractors where necessary, firstly for specialist work and secondly to supplement the council’s labour resources so repairs can be completed in a reasonable timeframe.
A meeting of the council’s Northern Division in Mallow also heard council staff are now working overtime on Saturdays to catch up with a backlog of repairs. The process would continue into the immediate future.
In his report, Mr Lucey said around 70% of roads closed off as a result of the storm had now been reopened. He envisaged any roads which remain closed that are not currently flooded should be passable within the next two weeks, provided there was no further adverse weather.
Mr Lucey noted a number of roads remain submerged, principally from flooding arising from ground water drainage systems. He said it was not possible to advise at this stage when they may be repaired and reopened.
An assessment of damage to roads is continuing, but an estimate to date is €10.2m.
Furthermore, extensive pothole repair works will also be required.
Mr Lucey said there is potential for the estimated figure to increase arising from the icy conditions experienced within the past week. Freezing and thawing of saturated roads is further damaging surfaces.
The chief executive said there had been a large number of requests from people to be allowed to carry out road repairs, themselves.
He said there were a number of constraints preventing the council to permit such activities, such as health and safety measures.
However, Mr Mucey said the council was prepared to make crushed stone material available for temporary pothole repairs in areas where traffic volumes are low. He said area engineers could make necessary arrangements with local groups.
It also emerged additional likely damage to bridges and coastal defences had yet to be fully assessed and that was expected to add to the bill.
“The road network has suffered considerable damage across the county and a significant level of funding by way of a special once-off allocation is required to ensure that the council is able to undertake the full extent of repair and restructuring works required,” Mr Lucey said in a report to councillors.
Meanwhile, area engineers have until February 26 to submit requests for normal roads works maintenance and upgrade programmes for 2016-2018 to the Department of Transport.
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