Call for the road gritting programme to be extended

A LOCAL councillor has called for the road gritting programme to be extended as some ungritted roads were in very poor condition during the recent cold snap.
Cllr Martin Farren recently submitted a motion asking Donegal County Council to seek extra funding from central government to purchase more vehicles with the aim of extending the road gritting programme.
Cllr Farren said the recent spell of snow and ice had highlighted the need for extra routes to be added to the gritting programme.
Speaking at a recent Council meeting, Cllr Farren said, “I want to pay tribute to the tremendous work completed by the road section of Donegal County Council during the recent cold snap we had.
“They kept all the main roads open and the men in the lorries were out morning, noon and night.
“Unfortunately I do not think the programme goes far enough and there are many more kilometres in the county that need to be gritted.
“Obviously to do that, we need extra funding.
“I have asked questions about this and I was told we need more lorries and more men in order to do that,” said Cllr Farren.
Currently, 1140 kilometres of road is gritted, which equates to 18 per cent of the roads in the county with 21 gritting routes.
Roads Director Bryan Cannon said in regards extensions to the gritting programme, there are a lot of different issues which have to be taken into consideration, including the length of time it takes to grit a route, the volume of the gritting equipment, the length of the route, the availability of equipment and staff and the availability of alternative routes.
He added he will seek additional funding but added he has to be clear the money generally comes from the one pot.
Cllr Farren said there are a lot of elderly people affected on the ungritted routes, while he is also concerned that emergency services would not be able to access some of the routes that are not currently treated.
“Obviously all the councillors can look around their own areas and pick out roads that stand out to them,” said Cllr Farren.
“The two areas that stand out for me is the crossroads at Greencastle, right down to the bottom of Shroove which is on the Wild Atlantic Way and the other area would be Ballinacrea Chapel right through to the Glen.
“I received a lot of phonecalls from people in the area during the very bad weather and I could see where they are coming from.
“If an ambulance or emergency services, they would have found it very difficult to get there.
“Thankfully nobody was seriously injured and no fatalities but I would be fearful that something like that could happen.
“It just really needs to be addressed and addressed in the near future,” said Cllr Farren.

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