Motorists’ lives are being put at risk because many dangerous roads in Co Cork do not have markings on them as the largest local authority in the country does not have its own machinery to carry out the work.
A number of councillors expressed surprise that Cork County Council, which has more than 12,500km of roads under its jurisdiction, has to rely on contractors from outside counties to paint the markings.
Fianna Fáil councillor Joe Carroll said he has noticed that road markings have disappeared from major junctions, which is a serious safety concern. He said the council is dependent on two contractors from another county to do such work and doesn’t feel this is an ideal situation.
All over the county this is at a serious point,” he said. “We are the biggest county in the country with a road network of 12,500km. Surely we are entitled to a road marking crew. We are waiting three or four years for the replacement of road markings.
Council officials maintain it is not cost-effective to buy their own road marking machines. Mr Carroll suggested that they might purchase machines with other neighbouring local authorities to lower the cost.
“The current arrangements are clearly not working and this is now obviously a health and safety issue which needs to be addressed,” he said.
Independent councillor Danny Collins said having no markings on some roads is very dangerous at night.
Sinn Féin’s Danielle Twomey said outside contractors should not be used.
We need to get our own staff to do these works,” she said.
Ms Twomey said that, in her home town of Midleton, contractors painted a yellow box on one half of a junction, and came back five weeks later to paint the other half. It was also pointed out that they painted white lines in places, but had to come back days or weeks later to paint yellow lines in the same area.
“There’s no road markings in Mourneabbey whatsoever and it’s very dangerous,” Sinn Féin councillor Melissa Mullane.
“When fog comes down at night you can’t see what part of the road you are on,” said Independent councillor Timmy Collins. “In some places on bad bends, the road markings are not there, which is a health and safety issue.”
Tom Stritch, the council’s director of roads, said they had their own road marking machines more than 20 years ago, but had outsourced the work to contractors as it is “uneconomic” for the local authority to do it.
Council chief executive Tim Lucey also maintains it is not economical for the council to buy its own machinery. However, councillors insist more work could be done in less time if they had their own machinery and crews working it.
It was agreed to refer the matter to the council’s Transport Strategic Policy Committee.