Work to raise flood prone road could begin soon

Work to raise flood prone road could begin soon

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BALLYCAR-FLOOD-1
A site survey has already commenced at Ballycar where homes were left cut off for over three months – © Pat Flynn 2014

There may be an end in sight for residents of a small Clare community that has been repeatedly cut off, for months at a time, by flood waters since the 1990’s. 

Locals at Ballycar near Newmarket on Fergus were only able to access their homes by road on May 7th following the devastating storms and floods of February.

After an almost 20 year campaign to have the matter resolved, work could soon begin on raising the road in front of their homes. This was however promised before but work was never undertaken.

While just one of the five affected homes was actually flooded this year, the road in front of the other houses was left under 8 feet of water for over three months.

Residents had to trek across fields and neighbours properties to reach a dry stretch of road depending on the goodwill of other neighbours for some place to park their cars.

The front garden of one house was designated as a helicopter landing site in the event of a medical emergency while fire fighting equipment was stored in another family’s garage so that fire crews would have prompt access in there was a blaze.

It was the third time in less 6 years that locals in the area suffered similar problems as a result of flooding of Ballycar Lough. The Ennis to Limerick rail line was also closed for 100 days as a result of the flooding.

Clare County Council has again committed to resolving the problem of the road flooding a project it hopes to complete “as soon as possible”.

“The proposal, ultimately, will probably involve raising the road to a level which would facilitate access to all properties via public road in the event that such a flooding situation arises in future. Once the scope is defined, works will be scheduled for later this year (as soon as possible),” a council spokesman said.

The council has also said it has secured an allocation from the Department of Transport to cover the cost of the works.

The council’s road design department currently has staff the road at Ballycar while site investigation works will be undertaken there over the next week or so.

The council has said: “Ahead of these works, we will be meeting with affected landowners/residents to get their permission to enter onto their lands. Following completion of these surveys / site investigations detailed design work will be undertaken.”

Local resident Brian Keogh said: “At least now there’s movement but the council has to step up this time and fulfil it’s commitment to sort this problem once and for all. We don’t want to be left in the same situation next winter. It has gone on long enough now and it has to be sorted. The council has to keep it’s promise this time”.

BRIAN-KEOGH-BALLYCAR
Local man Brian Keogh emerging from a flooded section of road outside his home last March – © Pat Flynn 2014
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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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