Westport area councillors noted their dismay at the state of roads in the area following the extreme cold weather.
Councillor John O’Malley said that he has a huge list of roads which need to be repaired, with the state of the roads being the main gripe of people as he has heard while out canvassing. The Fine Gael councillor said that some of the roads are “diabolical” such as roads in Derrygorman, Slogher, Kilmeena, and Glenhest.
He said that an emergency plan needs to be put in place to deal with the roads and he said that like some other counties, “We are a third world road county”.
Cllr Peter Flynn agreed that roads outside the town are “deplorable” and that the problem stems from the cutbacks in maintenance and strengthening budgets in the past couple of years.
Chair of the area meeting, Cllr Austin Francis O’Malley, agreed that the reduction in capital funding in the past few years has led to the problem and he said there is anger on the ground as people complain to him that they are paying car tax, yet the money is not being spent on the roads in Mayo.
Senior engineer Padraig Walsh said that there is some good news on the funding front as the grant notification for national roads is up €8 million from what was allocated in 2010. He aid figures for non-national roads are pretty much the same as 2010 and strengthening funding is available in block grants this year so the council can prioritise roads which were worse affected at winter.
The allocation of funding for a three kilometre upgrade on the N59 Westport to Mulranny was also welcomed and Mr Walsh hoped that construction on this low volume scheme will go to construction at the end of the year.
The engineer said that the roadworks scheme is currently being prepared and he hoped that this will be adopted so it can be executed as soon as possible.