Transport disruption on the cards with rural roads 'difficult to deal with' during snow

Transport Authorities give update on plans for winter

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Snow ice weather warning met éireann

Snow in December 2017 in Portlaoise.

People trying to get to work or making other road and rail journeys can expect 'disruption' this week with rural roads most affected when snow falls.

Mr Eddie Burke from the Department of Transport gave an outline at that National Co-ordination Group press briefing.

"From a transport perspective we do expect disruption this week. All the transport operators are in preparation and planning. They all have emergency plans. Severe weather teams from each organisation are meeting,"

"What we would as is that people who are travelling during the week is to monitor websites and social media of all the transport operators. Also if you are driving, www.winterready.ie has tips," he said.

Sean O'Neill of Transport Infrastructure Ireland said there were 'ample supplies' of salt to grit roads. A total of 120,000 tonnes has been stockpiled. He said 25,000 tonnes was used during the bad winter of 2010/11.

He said there 100,000 kms of roads in Ireland and national roads make up 5,000 of this but carries 40% of traffic. TII will focus on treating the national roads.

"It does mean that a lot of local and regional roads will not get salted, ploughed etc so we need to keep that in perspective...rural roads are going to be difficult to deal with during the snow," he said.

Spokesperson for Irish Rail Jane Cregan said significant disruption if expected under Status Yellow and Orange warnings.

"If we get into Status Red situation where we have large accumulations of snow and we can't clear the snow as fast as it is falling then we do have an issue and we could anticipate that there may be service disruption," she said.

Irish Rail will be updating through its website and twitter accounts and the National Emergency Co-ordination Committee. 

John Sheridan of Bus Éireann said it has worked to ensure it has enough salt to keep at its depots and stations. If a Status Red is declared he said schools would be impacted.

"School transport services, in line with policy, will not operate if a Status Red is announced. It will affect up to 116,000 students. In any other weather, be it yellow or orange, school transport services will operate, assuming it is safe to do so," he said.

He said informed decisions would be made on scheduled services and would be communicated during the week.

Frank Curran spoke on behalf of county councils. He said local authorites will continue salting and snow ploughs are ready to go into action. He said Civil Defence is on standby. He added that each council has its own co-ordination centre made up of council staff, gardaí, HSE and others. He said council websites would have up to date information on road conditions.

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