WITH 12,000km of roads to maintain, and diminishing resources, Cork County Council is currently fighting a losing battle.
Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) told The Southern Star that if the pre-2008 levels of funding had continued, an additional €358m would have been invested in West Cork’s regional and local roads by the year 2020.
‘Of course, nothing like this has been spent on our roads, and now we have been informed that due to Covid-19, and diminishing revenue, our funding is to be cut by another half-a-million,’ Cllr Hurley said.
He said the best practice guidelines – which were issued by the Department of Transport – state that a minimum of 5% of road strengthening should be carried out on rural roads annually. This would equate to strengthening a single stretch of road every 20 years. However, due to budgetary constraints, the local authority can only carry out 1.7% of this work, which means the road is only treated once every 59 years.
Other departmental recommendations suggest that a minimum of 5% of resurfacing needs should be carried out on the rural network annually – a figure that translates to a road being resurfaced every 20 years.
But the local authority can only achieve 3% percent of this on its annual allocation. And that corresponds to a road being resurfaced once every 33 years.
‘The net effect of all of this,’ according to Cllr Hurley, ‘is that West Cork is falling behind and the roads network is getting worse faster than it can be fixed.
‘The statistics make it abundantly clear that the current level of funding being allocated to Cork County Council is nowhere near adequate to maintain the County’s road network.
‘As we face into another winter – with more storms and more flooding – we need to renew our calls on the Government to adequately fund our roads.’