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Pothole problems deepen due to summer heat

FERMANAGH motorists could be in for a nightmare this winter, with a ‘perfect storm’ of extreme temperatures over the past six months leaving our road network literally ready to crack in places.
Just a handful of months ago snow and ice were creating potholes the size of craters around the county and generally contributing to the rapidly deteriorating state of the roads.
Now the baking heat of the recent summer sun has led to a dire situation. In areas where the tar has melted in the sun, even on freshly resurfaced roads, yet more potholes can be seen emerging.
Cllr Barry Doherty said he feared what the winter would bring.
“I’m sure it has caused serious problems left, right and centre for the roads service considering the state the roads were in the first place,” said Cllr Doherty, who said one road at Inishmore literally had a river of tar running down it into a pothole on one recent hot day.
The Kinawley man said he worried that after this hot summer we would likely have a very cold winter, the consequences of which “doesn’t bear thinking about.”
With regard to whether the road service budget could cope with the additional repairs now needed, Cllr Doherty said: “The biggest pressure on the budget is the size of it. It was increased this year, but the increase was so small the difference it will make will be hardly noticeable.”
Over in Roslea, Cllr Brian McCaffrey said there was damage to the roads, just like in all areas of the county.
“There’s a potential for them to break up further in the winter time,” he said. “On top you’ve also got repairs outstanding from last winter that still have to be dealt with.
“If you consider we’re not actually dealing with the damage that’s been done this summer with the heat and the damage from the winter. You’re dealing with 30 years of under-funding. If you didn’t do maintenance to your home over a 30 year period, what sort of shape would it be in?
Cllr McCaffrey added: “It’s dangerous, particularly for cyclists and motorcyclists. There’s also a cost to vehicle ownership.”
A spokesman for the Department of Infrastructure said the hot weather had led to a rise in road surface temperatures which had soften the bitumen on some Fermanagh roads. The Department is currently assessing the damage. Problem roads can be reported at www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/reportpothole


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