Warning: A milk truck on its rounds
A SENIOR official with Limerick City and County Council says an expected increase in milk production locally is likely to have a significant impact on the condition of local and regional roads across the county.
Director of Service Kieran Lehane made his comments on Monday as he briefed members of the Travel and Transport Strategic Policy Committee on some of the challenges currently facing the local authority.
There are a number of issues of concern such as the availability of funding to maintain and upgrade the current network of local and regional roads.
The increase in traffic associated with the economic recovery has also created additional pressures and Mr Lehane said predictions that milk production will increase by 50% in Ireland by 2020 is a worry for the council.
“It means there will be a lot more milk to be moved around the country and a lot more milk trucks – bigger trucks, heavier trucks that have an extraordinary impact on the condition of roads in rural areas,” he said.
Members of the committee were informed that the tearing movements of large heavy trucks on roads is a particular challenge for the council which needs to be addressed.
“There will be a sharp increase in heavy vehicle movements and weights from this expansion of the dairy industry over the next three years,” he said.
While a number of members questioned the accuracy of the predicted increase, Mr Lehane said he could only with the figures available to him.
In addition to milk trucks, the meeting was told that another issue of concern to the council is the damage being caused by forestry vehicles.
”This is an ongoing challenge and particularly in the west of the county,” said Mr Lehane.
Separately, members of the SPC were told a number of key projects have been identified as a priority by the local authority.
These include the Foynes-Adare-Limerick road, the M20, the Northern Distributor Road, a new road between UL and the city centre, the O’Connell Street revitalisation scheme and bypasses of both Abbeyfeale and Newcastle West.
My Lehane said the council hopes to encourage a greater use of public transport through each of the projects.