N56 turns 'red': Whole of route to receive salting

N56 turns 'red': Whole of route to receive salting

N56 turns 'red': Whole of route to receive salting

By Carolyn Farrar

The entire stretch of the N56 in Donegal, from the Five Points in Killybegs to Letterkenny, was to be salted as of last night, a senior roads official said yesterday.

Vincent Lynn, divisional manager with the council's roads and transportation services section, called the N56 "the highest priority of road that I have."

But the council was still urging motorists to take great care, even when driving on roads that had been salted or gritted.

The news marked the first announced change to last week's adjusted winter management programme, in which reduced national and local salt stocks forced the council to cut back the priority roads for salting. Major and strategic roads receiving salt under the new programme, about a third of the county's priority routes, were marked as red roads on the council map; the remainder of the county's 1,200 kilometres of priority routes, which were to be treated with grit and sand, were marked green. At that time, just a portion of the N56 was included in the red routes.

"The entire N56 is going red," Mr. Lynn said yesterday.

Donegal County Council salt stocks are still described as "critically low", but Mr. Lynn said the council is expecting more than 1,000 tons of salt over the next three days, which should be enough to keep primary roads passable through early next month.

Mr. Lynn said that he has been informed that there will be no problem with the council receiving supplies of road salt after Jan. 4. But he said that he expected the council's salt stocks to remain at critical levels until that time.

As of yesterday afternoon, the council had 250 tons of pure salt and 200 tons of a salt and grit mix, and 250 additional tons of salt were expected yesterday. The council was continuously monitoring the roads and salting as required, Mr. Lynn said, though he said they were using "the bare minimum of salt" to keep roads passable while managing declining stocks.

Mr. Lynn also advised motorists not to take the road that is known as the back of Errigal road, saying, "We are not salting or gritting it." He said a family travelling on the Errigal road yesterday morning became stuck and their vehicle had to be pulled out.

The roads official also said that the thaw in the weather, now not expected before the end of the weekend or early next week, could mean further difficulty as snow could be replaced with black ice. Mr. Lynn said that when people see snow on the roads they may be more aware of the danger that exists. "You don't see black ice on the roads," he said.

The council is also warning people to be alert when walking, advising that a thaw could lead to falling icicles and snow from building eaves and roofs.