Only one new route has been added in Kilkenny this year
Several local councillors have called for certain treacherous routes to be included in road salting/gritting schedule when the hard frost comes this winter.
At last week’s meeting of Kilkenny County Council, director of services Tim Butler updated the members on the council’s winter maintenance plan. He said the only change from last year is the inclusion of the city’s new St Francis Bridge.
A sum of around €400,000 is set aside for the service, and the council expects to deploy on around 70 occasions in the season.
Cllr Patrick O’ Neill has asked that more be done to ensure the safety of road users near the school in Bennettsbridge. The Fine Gael councillor said it was the third year he was raising the issue and nothing was done.
“There are issues there at school time,” he said.
“There’s two seriously steep hills, and they are done but it’s at 10am or 12 (midday), and at that stage it’s too late.
“I have seen cars go down sideways.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Mary Hilda Cavanagh said that up until the time the mine closed in Galmoy, the R435 road there had always been salted. She said a large commercial entity was now on the site, and a lot of trucks were still using the road.
“I’m asking that the short stretch be added in as a priority two,” she said.
“There’s nothing spent yet and we had a very soft year last year, so there must have been salt left over."
She had previously raised the issue last year also. Mr Butler said there were bunkers at schools and an agreement was in place with the IFA.
He said the R435 is a regional road and was priority three, while Laois did not have it at all. Referring to Cllr O’ Neill’s request, he said the roads in Bennettsbridge were not just a simple matter of ‘driving out a little bit more’.
“They are big trucks and would have to go as far as Gowran,” he said.
Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick said the problems faced by schools in Muckalee, Coon and Johnswell were particularly horrendous. The Fianna Fail councillor asked that more be done to work with the IFA, who he said were ‘more than willing’ to lend a land and help out.