Limerick authorities stockpile salt as winter closes

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

Limerick’s local authorities have plenty of salt to shake when temperatures plummet this winter.

Limerick’s local authorities have plenty of salt to shake when temperatures plummet this winter.

They have secured more than 4000 tonnes of rock salt to treat Limerick’s roads.

The authorities expressed confidence that they have ample supplies of salt and grit to treat the city’s and county’s roads in the event of a prolonged outbreak of cold weather.

Paul Crowe, director of services, travel and transportation said they presently have more than 3,500 tonnes of salt.

“We have secured an additional 500 tonnes which can be availed of if and when required during the coming months,” said Mr Crowe.

Last week road staff carried out their first road treatment operation of the winter when surface temperatures dipped below freezing.

However, Mr Crowe noted that the authorities have received no indication from Met Éireann that the country is going to experience a prolonged period of cold weather in the near future.

Few will forget December 2010 which brought prolonged periods of cold weather down to minus 15. It led to significant disruptions to traffic and travel; burst water pipes caused untold damage as well as resulting in water shortages in many parts.

“We are well prepared to deal with all eventualities. We have also updated our fleet of eight 26 tonne salt spreader trucks by installing a GPS system which will enable Limerick Local Authorities to better manage and coordinate road maintenance operations,” said Mr Crowe.

He noted that the winter maintenance salting routes 2012 – 2013, which are available to view on www.lcc.ie and www.Limerickcity.ie, are divided into two categories.

“The salting routes are categorised as priority 1 and priority 2. Priority 1 relates to national primary and secondary roads and some priority regional roads. Priority 2 relates to Limerick’s main regional road network, heavily trafficked routes and some access routes to public facilities, such as the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Dooradoyle,” said Mr Crowe.

Meanwhile, Limerick Local Authorities are urging members of the public to start preparing for the winter season which brings with it an increased threat of severe weather, including snow, ice, damaging winds and flooding.

The call follows the launch last Friday, November 9 by the Government task force on emergency planning of the Winter-Ready Information Campaign 2012-2013.

According to Mr Crowe, the key messages are that people should be prepared, know how to stay safe and know where to find help if needed. “Information hosted on our websites include advice for householders, motorists, pedestrians, schools, the farming and business communities on what to do should another big freeze or flooding incident hit.

“There is also plenty of very useful advice for motorists about how to ensure your vehicle is winter-ready as well as tips for motoring in snow, ice, high winds, floods and fog,” said Mr Crowe.

The winter ready guide is accompanied on the Limerick Local Authorities’ websites by detailed information on the ice treatment regime/routes for the 2012-13 winter season in Limerick.