Justine Dwyer

Independent councillor Joe Conway has highlighted the issue of substandard estate roads in Waterford and said some hadn’t seen a tar lorry in half a century.

Road surface in Riverstown, Tramore.

According to Cllr. Conway, the physical condition of many estate roads in Waterford is unacceptable and unsafe.  “Some have had absolutely no upkeep in nigh on a half-century.  Unless we make a significant intervention soon, these will get to such a state of degradation that they will cost a fortune to reinstate.”

He said it was the old story of a stitch in time saves nine.  “Since 1999, the great preponderance of road investment has been in rural areas.  It was very necessary, to arrest the deterioration of county local roads.  The same urgency now applies to many estates in towns, that were laid down in the seventies and eighties.”

Some of them, said Cllr. Conway, reminded him of the roads he saw when he was on election-monitoring in Moldova which, he added, is the lowest ranking sovereign country in Europe by GDP per capita, while Ireland is the second highest (after Luxembourg).

“It is unrealistic for our Council to expect a big uptake in cycling and other green road usage, if it becomes an unsafe and bone-rattling experience.  Moreover, I have had a legion of complaints from people driving in unfamiliar estates – particularly at night, where they have hit unseen potholes and consequent damaging results.”

                Cllr Joe Conway. 

The city also has its problems in this area,  he continued. “Many arterial routes are peppered with potholes and poor repair work – one very obvious one being the heavily-used Morrison’s Road.  I requested attention for this two years ago, and – while some cosmetic stuff was done – it is still a far from comfortable drive.”

The budgets for roads for the coming year will be fixed soon, continued Cllr. Conway. “I would ask everyone to contact their local councillors if they have a serious problem in this regard on their street or road.  It is no longer sustainable for the Council to stubbornly take the stand that they ‘just don’t do estate roads’.  Residents here pay road and property tax, oftentimes considerably more that those who are getting regular resurfacing. We are asking for nothing more than fairness and parity of service.”