A motorist had a lucky escape early today when he lost control of his car after driving through a heavily flooded section of a busy dual-carriageway.
Emergency services from two counties responded to the incident on the N18 Limerick to Ennis route near Setright’s Cross in Co Clare.
A blocked water drain is believed to have caused lane two to flood on a bend and unlit section of the northbound carriageway.
Fire crews from Limerick City used their vehicles to create a rolling roadblock in an effort to bring the early morning traffic to a safe stop. The incident happened shortly after 7.00am as hundreds of people made their way to work in Shannon and Ennis.
Units of the fire brigade from Shannon Town also responded to the incident. On arrival, emergency crews found that the driver was uninjured but the road was left in a treacherous condition.
Heavy rain will continue for Leinster and Munster, but it will gradually ease from the north and west through the afternoon. It will still be mild for much of the time with highs of 9 to 12 degrees but turning colder everywhere by evening. Winds becoming lighter by the afternoon. pic.twitter.com/oDwAS1Syw9
— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) November 22, 2017
Traffic Infrastructure Ireland (TII) staff were mobilised to investigate the flooding and found that surface water wasn’t draining quickly enough following the overnight rainfall.
TII personnel had to use a road sweeper with a massive suction pipe to clear the blocked drain. Fire crews had also used a pump to try and clear the blockage.
As a result, traffic was affected for almost three hours and at one point, was backed up almost five kilometres to the Limerick Tunnel.
Elsewhere in Clare, several motorists got bogged down in flood waters at several locations on the R352 Ennis to Scarriff road.
Tow trucks were called to help recover stranded cars from flooded areas between Ennis and Scarriff and further along the route near Mountshannon.
Some cars were left abandoned on the side of the road or in farmer’s fields while good samaritan locals and passing motorists assisted several stranded drivers by towing their vehicles clear of flood waters.
There is extensive flooding in East Clare including at:
– The turnoff to East Clare Golf Club on the R352
– Mountshannon Road in Scarriff
– R352 at Lough Bridget
— Clare County Council (@ClareCoCo) November 22, 2017
One of the worst affected areas was at the base of a hill close to the entrance to East Clare Golf Club near Bodyke where run-off from nearby lands result in extensive flooding and traffic chaos.
One local man said: “I haven’t seen this place flood in a long long time. It must be 15 years since this road flooded. Whatever’s going on, all the water from the land just swept across the road.”
Motorists in other parts of Clare, particularly in the Kilkee and Doonbeg area, were also forced to take alternative routes. The N67 was left impassible at Caherfeenick near Doonbeg.
The Sixmilebridge to Kilkishen road was flooded at several locations while a section of the Broadford to Limerick road suffered surface damage.
Fire crews also responded to serious flooding around several homes in Shannon Town.
The houses at Dún an Óir in Shannon are regularly subjected to flooding when a nearby field becomes waterlogged. Fire crews spent several hours at the scene trying to pump water from the area to prevent homes from flooding.