CORK County Council’s bridge repair programme has been ‘one of the big success stories across the county’, according to Tom Stritch, director of services for roads and transportation.
He was speaking at a meeting of the Western Committee where he outlined the work that is being carried out throughout the West Cork division.
He confirmed that the site investigations in relation to the Barleycove causeway bridge had been carried out and that the work would be carried out in the autumn.
When the councillors queried the timing of the work, Mr Stritch said the start date was September because they did not want the work leading into the winter, and also to meet the November cut-off point for storm funding.
Other works itemised in an extensive end-of-quarter report included good news for works on a retaining wall at Lisagriffin, which is also in the Barleycove area. And he said Lemac have completed the contract and the remaining works (Cloghanecullen Bridge, Gurteen Bridge, Maulnaskehy Bridge) are going to the design stage and will subsequently be advertised for tender in June.
Four, or five, years ago, Mr Stritch said the department requested that all the bridges be inspected and since then ‘good work was done despite the fact that some of the bridges were affected by storm damage.’ He said Atkins consultants have carried out ongoing principle inspections on 53 national road bridges, of which 20 were associated with the N71 and 12 were regional and local bridges and that the bridge rehabilitation works were ongoing.
Meanwhile, contract documents are being prepared for Kildarra Bridge in Bandon; Clashduff Bridge in Bantry; Caherkeen Bridge in Bantry; the overflow Bandon River bridge in Enniskeane, and the Kilbrittain Bridge.
In addition, the contract to rectify the damage caused by a major landslide in the Borlin valley is being advertised and a contractor has been appointed to carry out restoration works. And a contractor is about to start work on an embankment stabilisation project at Reenmeen, Glengarriff.
He said there is €40m being spent on road and other improvement works, including the €11m that was provided to rectify the damage caused during the winter storms. But the €11m storm works will have to be completed by the end of November because the money cannot be carried forward.
During the discussion Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) reminded the Council engineers that the main bridge into Kinsale is in need of repair and stressed that it be prioritised.
He also urged them to deal with the subsidence on the main road through Innishannon. Cllr James O’Donovan (FG) concurred saying: ‘The subsidence is causing a lot of hassle.’
He also identified a problem with the Dunmanway Road coming out of Bandon saying: ‘It is in a desperate state of repair.’ He warned Council officials that it is ‘a hazard and a danger’ and asked: ‘Can anything be done to patch it up because at the moment it is a health and safety hazard?’
Mr Stritch said the Council is not in a position to prioritise repairs on the national route. He said that was a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) called for the widening of the roadway at the entrance to Baltimore on the basis that it is ‘way too narrow’ and difficult to navigate, especially for unsuspecting tourists.
The director of services agreed that it is ‘extremely narrow’ but added ‘there is no line of funding available at the moment’. However, he did say that if the land required for the road widening became available ‘it could move to the top of the list.’
He said the widening of the road at Oldcourt is at a more advanced stage. To which, Cllr Carroll replied: ‘When I came into the Council in 2004 I was delighted to be able to tell the people of Oldcourt that the work would be completed before Christmas. It still hasn’t happened.’