Roadworks scheme scrapped as costs soar

Rising costs in essential materials have resulted in the scrapping of a planned overhaul for one of South Kilkenny’s worst roads.

Rising costs in essential materials have resulted in the scrapping of a planned overhaul for one of South Kilkenny’s worst roads.

Works on the Charlestown Road near Ballinacurra were set to go ahead this year at an estimated cost of €52,650. However, the council has had to pare back its works programme, as the cost of bitumen and tar continues to soar.

The roadworks scheme for the Piltown Electoral Area was devised on the basis of an overall €980,000 allocation. This was based on an estimated surfacing materials cost of €19.50 per square metre, but it now transpires the cost will be closer to €23 per square metre.

As the road had some improvement works carried out last year, it was decided that further works should be postponed for now.

“The obvious one to me is the Charlestown Road – we did the worst section of it last year,” said area engineer Ian Gardner.

“Everything we don’t do would be guaranteed to be on the list for next year. We need to drop that scheme and make savings elsewhere.”

But while not surfacing the 2.7 kilometre Charlestown Road will go some way toward cost-saving, the council will have to compromise on another 4,000 square metres from other schemes if it is to fall within budget.

Other schemes on the list that still await surfacing are Dangan, Pollrone, Dounane Road, New Road, Molum and the Jamestown N25 junction. Mr Gardner said that the council had been late this year in starting surface dressing as the cold weather was inhospitable.

Cllr Pat Dunphy said it was to the council’s credit that the roads improvement scheme was being continued in spite of the difficult economic circumstances.

“The positive part is that we have been doing all the worst roads,” he said.

“There is a plus in that regard, there will be less patching to do.”

The councillors thanked Mr Gardiner for the update.

“What we are doing is covering 90% of our projects in the way we are doing this,” said Cllr Tomas Breathnach.

“We are not feeling the full impact of the cuts with how we have gone about this.”