Roads across the country will need “extensive repair” when flood waters recede, says Conor Faughnan, director of consumer affairs with AA RoadWatch.
Even roads that are only partially flooded will be significantly damaged, he said, and surfaces will be affected.
“We had something similar to this, perhaps not as bad, or as extensive, or as long in duration, but something similar to this, in 2009,” he said.
“And when those flood waters receded, there was extensive damage to the road surface.
“So, I think, for local authorities up and down the country, their first thing in 2016 will be extensive road repair and I think, inevitably, they will need some funding for that.”
The worst-affected areas are in Munster and Leinster, where a number of roads are still closed, after storm Frank battered the country earlier this week.
“The worst-affected counties are still Cork and Kilkenny, but you can encounter a closed road pretty much anywhere in the country, and we’ve listed lots of them on the AA RoadWatch website. It’s quicker to list the counties that are not affected,” said Mr Faughnan.
Meanwhile, the Fianna Fáil transport spokesman, Timmy Dooley, criticised the Government’s track record on maintaining regional and local roads.
“The Government has claimed, at each annual budget, that it is protecting maintenance spending on regional and local roads throughout the country. However, the latest figures I have received tell a different story entirely,” said Mr Dooley, who was responding to a reply from the Department of Transport that revealed €580m a year is required to keep the country’s roads up to scratch.
“Since 2012, the investment made in roads has been well under the level required to properly maintain them. The Government itself acknowledges this,” he said.
“The maintenance costs have far exceeded annual investment in roads in recent years. The Government underspent by an estimated €289m per annum on roads this year alone.”
Mr Dooley said there has been a “dramatic underspend” for the last few years.
“If you look at the three-year average of what was spent on roads in each county from 2013 to 2015, you will discover that maintenance spending on roads has been approximately 47% below what is required to keep the roads in a good condition.
“This is the reason why regional and local roads are potholed, and in such a terrible condition, in many parts of the country.”
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