Warning as county’s budget for maintaining roads is halved

The Government allocation for maintaining roads in Ireland’s largest county has fallen by more than half in four years, from €106m in 2009 to €48m this year.

Warning  as county’s budget for maintaining roads is halved

It has been warned the massive cut will further impact the ever-deteriorating standard of roads in Co Cork.

County manager Martin Riordan said the cutbacks are a false economy, as it will cost considerably more in the long run to repair some of the county’s 11,000km of roads.

In 2009, the government set aside €63mn for all national roads in the county, and a further €43.8m was spent on the maintenance of regional and local roads.

The allocations this year amount to just €8.9m for national roads and €39.7m for regional and local roads.

Tom Stritch, Cork county council director of roads, stated in a report that the national roads grant had been reduced by 19% on last year, and Mr Riordan added that further reductions were likely again next year.

The council’s allocation for maintenance per kilometre of road is less than the national average, and this has been the case for many years.

Just two weeks ago, Mr Riordan said that he had so little money to play with in his budget that he could either carry out pothole-filling or roads drainage works, but not both.

Many of the road grants which the council receives from Government are specific allocations.

Mr Riordan said that, in order to make ends meet, the council should be allocated a lump sum and given the discretion to spend the money where it was felt it was most needed.

He also said that, given the size of the county and its vast network of roads, it should be getting a far biggest allocation of funds for maintenance and repairs.

Mr Riordan added that the county had still not recovered from the damage done to roads by severe weather in recent years, especially from snow, ice, and flooding.

Councillors have decided to write to Leo Varadkar, the Minister for Transport, seeking more money in order to prevent much more of the road network from falling apart.

Mr Riordan also paid tribute to his roads engineers and outdoor staff who, he said, were doing an awful lot of work with very little money.

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