Treatment Of Roads Reviewed As Salt Stocks Run Low

The National Roads Authority (NRA) has directed local authorities to conserve salt stocks, iWeather  Online has learned.

The treatment of roads will be restricted to Motorways, National Primary and National Secondary roads. Regional and local roads will not be treated until further notice.

At least four local authorities have issued statements this evening confirming the news.

In Westmeath, the County Council announced tonight: "Westmeath County Council has been requested by the National Roads Authority to restrict its usage of salt to 35 tonnes per night for the foreseeable future. This is a severe restriction as 100 tonnes of salt is required to treat the identified Priority Routes within the county. In order to comply with this restriction, it is necessary for the Council to further prioritise routes for treatment and in this regard, ONLY NATIONAL PRIMARY AND NATIONAL SECONDARY ROUTES WILL BE TREATED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. Furthermore, these routes will be treated with a mixture of salt and sand, which is not as effective a de-icer as pure salt. Therefore, motorists are strongly advised to exercise extreme care whenever there is a chance that ice may be present and to assume at all times that surfaces have not been treated. Severe hills that are prone to ice may also be treated on some Regional Routes.

"It should be noted that the main streets in the larger towns that have traditionally been treated will not be treated until further notice. Therefore, motorists should take extra care in urban areas. A map showing the routes that will be treated with the salt / sand mix is attached for information. Winter Gritting Restricted Routes 2010", the statement added.

Clare County Council said: "As a general thaw sets in across the county, Clare County Council is urging motorists to drive with extreme caution as the County will experience localised severe ground frost especially at night over the coming weekend. This could give rise to black ice on some roads. Having regard to depleting Salt Stock levels, only priority routes -  Motorway and National primary roads will be treated, however motorists shouldn't make any assumptions in this regard."

In a statement issued tonight Louth County Council said: "Louth Local Authorities wish to advise the public that as the temperatures have improved and in order to facilitate the replenishment of  salt stocks in the county, only national roads will be gritted for the next few nights. Drivers are requested to exercise caution  as the main roads in the county will not be salted as usual."

Limerick County Council added: "Indications are that temperatures tonight (Friday) and over the weekend will be such as to give rise to freezing conditions. Motorists are advised to continue to exercise extreme caution during the coming days."