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A dedicated road marking machine won't make financial sense - Council

August 31st, 2018 1:02 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Cork County Council is dependant on two contractors from Tipperary to come and lay down road markings when they are available. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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CALLS for Cork County Council to purchase their own line marking equipment for roads and junctions have been shot down after councillors were told that it wouldn’t be effective.

Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) raised the motion at a recent meeting where he said: ‘Road markings are not put down for fun, they’re put down for a very serious reason. 

‘We’re dependent on two contractors from Tipperary, they only come down now and again and come for a day and they’re gone again,’ Cllr Carroll added.

He said there was a lack of clear road markings on roads across the county, calling it a health and safety issue. He also called on the local authority to engage with neighbouring counties with a view to purchasing their own lining equipment.

 ‘I think in actual fact that a county like Cork, the biggest in the country,  with a network of 12,500km of road, surely should merit a staff and crew of its own – maybe along with a county like Kerry or Tipperary. There’s certainly plenty of work to do and it would also create a bit of employment and we would also have road markings whenever we want them.’ 

Cllr Carroll added he was very disappointed with the reply from Tom Stritch, director of services, who said that as the work is seasonal all counties and municipal districts would be looking for the crews at the same time and that the proposal ‘is not considered to be practical on cost, efficiency or logistical grounds.’

Cllr Carroll said: ‘I think that’s something that could be easily managed and each could wait their turn as we in West Cork have been waiting two or three years to replace markings. We shouldn’t be dependent on these contractors and I’m wondering whose monitoring these contractors as nothing is being done in West Cork?’

Cllr Carroll also demanded to know what the Council is paying the contractors for the work carried out.

‘I’m still insisting that Cork County Council have its own fleet and I feel that the excuses in the reply are a bit lame.’

His Council colleague, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, said it made complete sense for the Council to have its own fleet.

‘It’s very frustrating that when the smallest of jobs  that are agreed at every level take almost a year to be done as we’re waiting for these contractors to come back into town.’

Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) said it was a poor reflection on the local authority that they can’t provide such a machine.

‘If we can manage housing and build houses and repair roads, why can we not buy a road marker and manage the road markings?’ asked Cllr Coughlan. ‘We need to transcend these petty budgeting ideas and get our marking machine and mark the roads and keep our roads safe for users.’

However, Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind) said that while he agreed there is a problem with road markings he wasn’t agreeing with the proposed solution. 

He said the Council should be looking at another type of solution, so as not to tie up capital money in staff and that ‘it could be done better by private contractors.’ 

Cllr Carroll wondered what side of what bed Cllr Coleman had woken up on, because he opposed the motion.

Council chief executive Tim Lucey said he was satisfied with Tom Stritch’s reply to the motion who had said that the Council had its own road marking machine more than 20 years ago, but it was  uneconomic.

‘He’s looking at this as being the most efficient and cost-effective manner, and we won’t be buying a machine in the foreseeable future but I’m happy for you to discuss it a SPC (Strategic Policy Committee) meeting with the director present,’ said Mr Lucey.

Cllr Carroll added that there has to be an improvement on the present situation and councillors agreed that the matter should be referred to the Transport strategic policy committee meeting for discussion.

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