Potholes a costly legacy of our ‘once in forty years’ Winter.

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Recent FAQs on Potholes from AA Ireland

Battered and crumbling, our roads have been through a very tough winter. Floods, snow, freeze and thaw have provided a nice field lesson for junior cert science students about how erosion works. They have also left local authorities and the government with a big and expensive repair job on their hands. For motorists, brace yourselves for a Spring of battered suspensions and blow-outs. On secondary roads especially there can be danger around every bend.

Ireland struggled in its response to the extraordinary cold snap that started the year but we did get through it. Roads country wide now need fixing, and they need it badly. In several cases whole stretches of road need to be essentially re-constructed. Others need to be fully resurfaced or have margin treatment. Below that again there are a lot of roads that have had some cracks and damage. The great Irish pothole, once the biggest complaint about our roads in years gone by, is back with a vengeance.

The major road network came through relatively unscathed and the new motorways are fine. In total the primary road network is 5,500 kilometres long. That is just 6% of the total road network which has 97,000 kms (although it does carry 46% of all traffic).
The secondary road network is the problem. Many ‘secondary’ roads are in fact very important local links and can make the difference between connection and isolation in rural areas. If the roads are not repaired then drivers, cyclists and motor bike riders will be at risk from expensive damage and injuries. Insurance companies will be hit and more claims and potential injuries will add to HSE costs – already hit by the increase in fractured bones as a result of icy pavements.

For motorists, take extra care on secondary roads this Spring. Do not trust a blind bend as you could find a damaged road surface under your wheels in an instant. As always, the most important tip is to slow down.

The statutory responsibility is held with the local authorities for the maintenance and construction of these roads in their jurisdiction. Which is all very well but it doesn’t pay the bill. The full extent of the recent damage is not yet clear but one estimate put the cost at €150 million. Local authorities want extra money that is hardly easy to come by these days.

The AA’s view is that whoever picks up the tab we cannot simply neglect the roads and let them get worse. The job won’t get any cheaper by procrastination and in fact now is probably a good time given that construction costs are down and contractors and engineers with construction experience should be readily available. As the phrase says – just do it.

Pothole FAQs:
Conor Faughnan replies to some questions from Members received by AA Public Affairs: (contact AA public affairs by email: publicaffairs@aaireland.ie)

What damage can I do if I hit a pothole?
Depending on the speed you are travelling at you could do considerable damage. There is the possibility of a blow-out or tyre damage. There is also the possibility damage to the suspension or steering. Things like bending a track rod, for example, will make the car too dangerous to drive. Alloy wheels can be cracked or damaged.  Severe impacts can affect systems like inertia switches causing the vehicle to cut out. Quite apart from expensive damage caused by the pothole itself, and there is also the danger that hitting it could cause a more serious collision.

Does my Motor Insurance cover the damage?
If you have comprehensive cover the answer is yes. If your cover is third party only then damage to your own car is not covered. Take note though that if a driver chose to behave recklessly and in so doing caused or exacerbated the damage then an insurer would be within their rights to withhold some or all of the claim.

Will I lose my no claims bonus?
It depends who your policy is with. If it is with AA then you have ‘protected no claims discount’. Damage to car glass and windscreen replacement cover is also covered by AA Insurance.

Can I sue the local authority?
A lot of people want to know the answer to that question; I get so many enquiries it (almost) makes me think I should have become a lawyer. You should never consider any such course of action without proper legal advice. Having said that it is possible to sue a local authority or any other body at any time, but just because you are entitled to take a case does not mean that you will win it. Unless some form of negligence is alleged it would not normally be expected that a local authority can be responsible for every incident that occurs on a road. Roads will be in a dangerous condition from time to time no matter what efforts are made.

Where is the damage worst?
The AA argues that the worst areas for potholes will be:

·         stretches of road where potholes have been poorly repaired in the past
·         stretches of road that were affected by flooding prior to the freeze
·         stretches of road that have not been salted as salt tends to melt the snow before it turns to ice
·         stretches of road hit by consistent sub-zero temperatures

Damage was widespread and no county was spared. The list below gives a number of major locations that were raised with AA Roadwatch. In some cases repair work has been or is being carried out.  Bear in mind that this is not a comprehensive list and there are other affected roads.
Check www.aaroadwatch.ie for up to date local information.

Carlow:
·         The N81 Tullow/Dublin Rd through Tullow  was badly affected by potholes and burst watermain
·         Very many roads in Carlow have very bad potholes, the secondary road network is badly affected.

Cavan:
·         Road conditions are poor on the Virginia/Baileborogh Rd (R178) particularly at Stonewall and on Bailieborough/Shercock Rd (R178)
·         Poor surface on the Virginia/Ballyjamesduff Rd (R194)

Clare:
·         Avoid the Lisdoonvarna/ Kilfenora / Corrofin Rd (R476). Motorists are advised to stick to the main national routes.

Cork:
·         N22 Cork/ Killarney Rd west of Macroom (repair work carried out)
·         Very bad potholes on the N22 Cork/Killarney Rd between Ovens and Crookstown.
·         Rathmore Rd, Glen Ave & Cross Douglas Rd in the city (repair work carried out)
·         Care needed on the N71 Bandon/Clonakilty Rd and around Bantry.
·         Potholes on the Kanturk to Feales Bridge Rd (R576) via Rockchapel.
·         N25 Cork/Waterford Rd between Midleton and Carrigtohill. (repair work carried out; Pot hole filling took place on both lanes of the dual carriageway).
·         Kinsale Rd at Bowen’s Cross
·         There is a very deep pothole on the N28 on Cork/Carrigaline Rd approaching Carrigaline just before the Maxol station.

Donegal:
·         The Breenagh/Brockagh Rd at Tullyhoner. (repair work carried out)
·         Potholes on the Glenties/Letterkenny Rd (R250) and on the Fintown to Letterkenny Rd (R250).

Galway:
·         Poor conditions on secondary roads in Tuam as well as the Dublin Rd (R332) out of Tuam.
·         Reports of very bad potholes on the N59 Galway/Clifden Rd between Oughterard and Maam Cross
·         N17 Galway/Tuam Rd at Lough George & also at Knockdoe. (repair work carried out)

Kerry:
·         N70 Kells/ Cahirciveen Rd due to damaged road surface.
·         Continue to take care on the Ardfert/Ballyheigue Rd (R551), on all routes around Causeway, Ballyduff & Abbeydorney.
·         Potholes on the Kilgarvan/Kenmare Rd (R569).

Kildare:
·         Take extra care over the Hill of Allen and the Hill at Kilmeague (R415)
·         Boston Rd (a local road), Ardclough was closed for emergency works.
·         The Kerdiffstown/Sallins Rd. Conditions very bad on all roads around Sallins.
·         Kilcock/Enfield Rd (R148)(‘Old N4’) at Moyvalley. (repair work carried out)
·         N7/Naas Rd southbound from J5 Athgoe to J6 Castlewarden (repair work carried out)

Kilkenny:
·         Potholes are causing problems on the N76 Kilkenny/Callan Rd & Kilkenny/Freshford Rd (R693).
·         Potholes on the N9 southbound entering Thomastown.
·         Bad conditions on the Mullinavat to Castlebanny Rd.
·         Poor conditions on the N24 Clonmel/Waterford Rd at Piltown.

Laois:
·         Care is needed at the Hill at the Rock of Dunamase and at the Windy Gap in Stradbally.
·         Deep potholes on the N8 between Abbeyleix & Durrow.
·         The back road from Monasterevin into Portarlington is affected by potholes. The main road was closed for works (R424).
·         Repair works are being carried out on the Monesterevin/Portarlington Rd (R424) at Clonanny.

Leitrim:
·         All secondary roads in Leitrim badly affected by potholes, also poor conditions on the N16 Manorhamilton/Sligo Rd.

Limerick:
·         Potholes on the local road between Mountcollins and Abbeyfeale.
·         Very bad road conditions in the Bruff area and on the Newcastlewest/Drumcollogher Rd.
·         Care needed on N69 from Tralee to Limerick, works in place on the N69 Limerick/Tralee Rd between Kildimo and Hegarty’s Cross.

Louth:
·         Conditions in Ardee and surrounding areas are quite poor.
·         Duleek/Drogheda Rd (R152).

·         Mayo:
·         Poor conditions on the N17 Galway/Sligo Rd by Knock Airport and on the N59 Ballina/Bellmullet Rd between Crossmolina and Bangor Erris.

Meath:
·         Many potholes in the Dunshaughlin area.
·         Potholes on the N51 Navan/Slane Rd and also on the Slane/Kells Rd at Stackallen (R163).
·         Take care between Kilmoon Cross and Duleek (R152) where there are a number of large potholes.

Offaly:
·         Road Damage on the N80 Clara Rd just under 2km north of Tullamore town
·         Treacherous driving conditions through Aghancon.
·         Major potholes on N62 Birr/Roscrea Rd, particular care needed at Drumakeenan. Potholes also further north along the N62 Birr/Cloghan Rd. Drive with extreme care. Reduce your speed.
·         Clonbulloge/Bracknagh Rd (R442)

Roscommon:
·         A lot of potholes in Boyle, Castlerea and Ballaghadereen areas.

Sligo:
·         Poor conditions on the N17 between Tobercurry and Achonry.
·         Enniscrone area. (repair work carried out)
·         Ballymote area. (repair work carried out)
·         Tobberycurry/Ballymote Rd (R294/296) following road damage due to recent bad weather. (repair work carried out)

Tipperary:
·         Avoid the Newport to Killoscully Rd in Co.Tipperary.
·         Road damage on the N24 Tipperary/Carrick On Suir Rd between Cahir and Clonmel at Barne Lodge and Kimolash.

Waterford:
·         Poor conditions on the Kilmeadan/Kill Rd (R681).
·         The local Rd in Blackknock is closed until approx Fri 19th March to repair damage to the road.
·         The Kilmeaden Rd is closed until approx Fri 19th March to repair damage to the road.
·         Tramore Rd is closed between the Outer Ring Rd and Kingfisher Leisure Centre for repairs.
·         Ballycashin Hill, between the Outer Ring Rd and Ballybeg Drive will remain closed until mid 2010 due to road damage

Wexford:
·         Major potholes on the N30 Enniscorthy/New Ross Rd between Clonroche & New Ross – repair works in place.
·         Repair works on the N11 north of Ferns.
·         A number of sets of roadworks are in place in Bunclody. These works include those at; Craan, Glasglacken, Bradys Hill and at Ryland (R746).
·         Road damage on the Wexford/Ardcavan Rd (R741) & in Crossabeg.

Wicklow:
·         Widespread road damage remains in the Roundwood & Laragh areas following the poor weather conditions. Serious damage reported on the Laragh/Roundwood Rd (R755).