Former Mayor of Tramore, Cllr Joe Conway, has accused Waterford County Council of ineptitude in its timing of repairs on the main Waterford to Tramore road. But the Council has issued a strong denial.
“After nearly three months of school holidays, the County Council chose a very curious day to commence re-surfacing of the road. In a masterstroke of ineptitude, they scheduled the first day back for the town’s secondary schools for the beginning of this important work”, Cllr Conway complained.
“After a relatively light three months of traffic on this hard-pressed commuter route, they picked on just about the worst day imaginable, when hundreds of extra cars were guaranteed to be on the run.
“The result was – not surprisingly – like something from the worst tortures of the M50. Parents of anxious pupils, mingling with the everyday put-upon commuters, had to scrape by each other on the back road – a process that took ages”.
Cllr Conway said the situation improved somewhat the following day with one-way flows, but that occurred only after he had made the most strenuous representations to the engineers.
He said such things happened “when you have Dungarvan-based engineers making decisions that affect Tramore people – they neither have empathy with us, nor do they fully appreciate some of the problems that apply uniquely to our town”. And he added caustically: “I would urge them to revisit their manuals on the consultative process in local government”.
But Council Roads Engineer Mr. Paul Daly has offered a perfectly reasonable explanation for the timing of the resurfacing and he vehemently denies any lack of consultation with public representatives.
He said the resurfacing programme was adopted by the County Council members and was published in April. There were five areas altogether, with the work carried out in sequence and because of the amount of heavy mechanical plant involved there had to be rigid adherence to the plan.
Tramore was last in the sequence and work was due to commence about two weeks earlier, but wet weather led to the delay. Heavy rainfall caused surface damage and that had to be repaired first. Also, resurfacing could not be carried out in wet conditions and it is also temperature dependent, so ideally the job needed to be competed by mid-September. That left no room for manoeuvre.
As for the allegation that Dungarvan-based engineers lacked empathy with Tramore and failed to consult adequately with its public representatives, Mr. Daly pointed out that decisions relating to the resort were made by the local area engineer and manager, who met regularly with councillors to discuss issues. Besides, the engineers’ office door in Dungarvan was always open to public representatives.
“I would be surprised at Cllr Conway’s perception of any lack of democracy pertaining to the Tramore area”, he concluded.