The Government’s allocation of €44m for the maintenance of regional and local roads in Co Cork “falls short” of what is needed to properly address the dire condition of many of them.
That’s according to the Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Declan Hurley, who said while he welcomed the announcement by Transport Minister Shane Ross, it was not sufficient.
The county council, which oversees more than 12,600km of roads, got slightly more than one 10th of the national allocation of €417m.
While the Co Cork allocation is up from €36m last year, it is way behind the €65m granted in 2008.
Council sources said that was the amount of money needed to maintain the road network properly.
In recent weeks councillors have repeatedly called for additional emergency funding to be allocated by the Government because ice and heavy rain have led to the serious deterioration of a number of roads in the county.
In some areas potholes have been become craters, with roads around Mid-Cork causing damage to a number of vehicles.
Similarly, very poor road conditions have been reported in parts of the West and North of the county.
“While I welcome the investment it has to be recognised that it does fall short of what is needed to address the current state of the roads,” said Cllr Hurley.
Because of years of cuts in the road maintenance budget the council’s resurfacing work has been reduced since 2008 to about 40% of what it should be.
“That added to bad weather over the intervening years has had a cumulative effect on the state of the roads,” a council source said.
Another issue is the significant reduction in the council’s road maintenance staff. Their number has been cut by nearly 400 in the past 10 years.
Mr Ross said he was very happy to be able to announce a significant and much-needed increase in grant allocations for regional and local roads this year.
Emphasising that his main priority remains the maintenance and safety of the network, he added that investment in maintenance and renewal nationally will see an increase of about 18% in 2018.
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