‘Roads have taken a hammering’ due to the development of a windfarm in West Clare.
A 110KV cable laying contract from Slieve Callan to the power station on the Tulla Rd is garnering negative attention from elected members of the county who feel the works are affecting the trade of local businesses while the state of the road is impacting on motorists.
Speaking at the February meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, Kilmaley Cllr Tom McNamara called on Clare County Council to “carry out a full assessment of the damage that has been caused to the roads along the root of the cable laying and the damage caused to minor local roads that were used as diversion routes. With the assistance of the financial contribution from the wind farm developers it is vital that these roads are included in this year’s road works programme for repair and resurfacing”.
McNamara received a positive response from Senior Executive Engineer, Eamon O’Dea. He said negotiations were ongoing between the Ennis and West Clare MD Offices relating to “work to be carried out on public roads using Long Term Impact funding received in the Road Opening Licences from the Slieve Callán Windfarm cable laying works. In the Municipal District of Ennis the overlay works from Beechpark to Inch Bridge was funded in part from long term impact funding. On the East side of Ennis there is still outstanding work on the Gaurus Road under the permanent restoration in the road opening licence”.
O’Dea added that the Ennis MD Office have proposed to do work on the Ennis Section of the Edenvale to Inch Bridge Road and between the school and the crossroads in Kimaley. On the R474 Kilmaley Rd works are also suggested between McLaughlin Cross and Gortnaganniv. These will be completed from the funding received from the Slieve Callán Windfarm cable laying works.
Reacting to the response, Cllr McNamara said people are “unable to complete simple tasks that we all take for granted” because of the work on the windfarm. He criticised the developers for failing to take responsibility for the damage to the roads and the additional routes being used as diversions. “Work done in a number of areas is below standard, there are manholes every five hundred metres”, the Fianna Fáil Councillor maintained.
“When you hit the manholes you know the standard is very poor”, he added. McNamara stated that a contract worth €10.4m was ringfenced for the development, “the least we’d expect is a good standard, the least we can have is a decent road and decent access to roads”. He insisted €3m be allocated for improving the damage saying “people affected need to be benefitted” and wanted the roads reinstated with the contract “finished to an acceptable standard”.
According to Fine Gael Cllr Paul Murphy “the roads took a hammering”. He supported the call from McNamara and said he could see the impact diversion had on local people.
Fianna Fáil’s Pat Daly was adamant monies from Wind Development Farms should go towards repairing the roads put into poor condition. His party colleague, Clare Colleran Molloy praised Tom McNamara for “a well put-together motion, she also queried if works at Clareabbey were finished and was informed they would be by the middle of February.
Members of the West Clare Municipal District were discussing the same motion at their most recent sitting. Independent Cllr Christy Curtin sought an update from the Office on what the situation was with “the provision for improvement to the sections serving Connolly and Kilmaley villages and adjoining diversion local roads”.
Engineer Siobhan McNulty informed him that a contribution towards the long term funding was paid by the developer. “The R474 in Connolly village is included in the schedule of the Municipal District works for 2017 therefore it is planned to resurface this section of the R474 as part of the 2017 Roadworks Programme”.