Tens of thousands of euro in damage is being caused to cars on roads in West Cork every week yet there is still no response from the Government to a county council plea for €12.9m to repair the storm-damaged highways.
Politicians from all sides have said many roads in the western side of the region are now extremely dangerous and it has become the biggest issue facing canvassers on the doorsteps.
Council officials estimate that nearly half of the money being sought from the Department of the Environment is to repair roads and bridges in West Cork caused by storms last December.
The council is also awaiting nearly €1m it sought from the department following storm damage in the region last September.
“The road network in the county is in tatters,” said councillor Kevin Murphy.
“I’ve never seen the roads so bad. We’re getting huge amounts of complaints on a daily basis. Roads repaired recently in the Kinsale area are wrecked again because of the [inadequate] drainage system.”
His party colleague, Noel O’Donovan, asked the council’s director of roads, Tom Stritch, if there was any indication from the department when it might release funding and was told “no”.
“Some of our roads are lethal and cars are being damaged all the time. Can we at least have a pothole blitz?” asked Mr O’Donovan.
Joe Carroll (FF) said roads around Bandon were like a different planet compared to what was left in the Skibbereen area and further west.
He said motorists were regularly reporting burst tyres, damaged wheel rims, and broken springs.
He said he had come across many people who had said they got their tracking fixed just prior to an NCT appointment only to find at the test centre that it was thrown out again by potholes.
“People are very agitated about misuse of road tax money, which is not going on the roads,” Paul Hayes (SF) told yesterday’s meeting in Clonakilty of the council’s western division.
“There are natural traffic calming measures now in Drimoleague with the amount of potholes,” he said.
“Cars are coming on the wrong side of road to avoid them, which is dangerous. It’s only a couple of weeks since we did the potholes on Timoleague-Bandon road and we’re back to square one again.”
Michael Collins (Ind) said: “The state of the roads is the biggest issue on the doorsteps. Over a number of years we’ve seen a gradual withdrawal of road services. We have to go back to basics.”
Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) said: “It’s a disaster zone. We need to look at our overall approach. Far more investment has to be put into winter maintenance programmes and put into using concrete shores and gulleys for drainage. These flooding events are now happening annually and not once every 10 years.”
Mary Hegarty (FG) said certain sections of the N71 had been resurfaced around Bantry but had been eroded again by the weather.
Tom Stritch said his overall budget is limited and he is trying to make it stretch as far as he can.
“We don’t have any indication about a response to our application to the department,” he told councillors.
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