Roads network ‘must be reassessed’ following flood closures

Kerry County Council is seeking a reassessment of key sections of the national road network in the county after some of its main roads were closed due to flooding in December, a meeting in Tralee has heard.

Millions of euro will be required in Kerry to repair piers, carry out coastal protection, and prop-up damaged harbours after damage caused by the December storms, a meeting of the Tralee Municipal Authority heard yesterday.

“The entire road network has suffered significant damage,” said senior engineer David Doyle.

Potholes and drainage are major issues on the county’s roads. In all, more than 500 homes, while not flooded, were cut-off, and urban areas in some of Kerry’s tourist towns experienced the worst of the effects, the meeting heard.

Mr Doyle outlined the worst-hit areas: The lake and riverside roads in the heart of Killarney; the town square and carpark in Kenmare; and the village of Glenflesk, on the N22 Cork to Killarney road.

The new bypass in Tralee had to be closed due to flooding in the first Code Red event, on December 4 and 5.

Mr Doyle said: “Sections of key access routes in the county, including the N22 Killarney-Cork road, the R569 to Kenmare, the N71 Killarney to Kenmare road over Molls Gap, the N70 Castlemaine road in Tralee, the Tralee bypass, were closed, as well as a significant number of local and urban roads.”

Roads network ‘must be reassessed’ following flood closures

Kenmare was essentially cut-off for a whole weekend, the municipal authority meeting was told.

The rainfall of the first storm varied throughout the county. There was less than 50mm recorded in Valentia and Ardfert, but gauges around Tralee indicated that between 77mm and 114mm of rain fell over a 36-hour period.

The water level recorded on the gauge on the River Lee at Ballymullen was the highest since its installation in 1975,

The cost of the damage to roads is estimated at €860,00 to mid-December, with a further €607,000 in damage done between December 19 and 30.

Significant money is required for coastal protection works; the Tralee-Fenit regional road alone will require €250,000.

Mr Doyle said coastal works at Rossbeigh and Ballyheigue will cost €1m wile a new road at Rossbeigh will cost €1.1m.

Roads network ‘must be reassessed’ following flood closures

Ballinskelligs pier was damaged and undermined, and will cost €160,000 to repair, he said.

Details of the extent of the flooding are being submitted to the OPW, the lead agency for flood risk management.

“The National Primary Road N22 at Glenflesk, sections of the N72 at Beaufort, and the N71 at Muckross had to be closed during these events,” Mr Doyle told councillors.

“Sections of the national road network, critical for access, will be reassessed with [Transport Infrastructure Ireland].”

Roads network ‘must be reassessed’ following flood closures

With both access routes, within the county, to Kenmare again severely flooded and closed, the town was essentially cut off from access unless motorists diverged through Cork.

Bridges are yet to be inspected for damage as the water levels are still too high to see the full extent of the damage, the meeting heard.

So far, the repair cost, including staff overtime and materials, amounted to over €4m, the councillors were told.

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