Residents demand action on neglected Ballyneale road 

Eamonn Wynne

Reporter:

Eamonn Wynne

Residents and local politicians at the public meeting in Ballyneale Community Hall.

Angry residents in the Ballyneale area say they have reached "boiling point" over the condition of a road they claim has been "neglected for years".

People gathered at a public meeting in the local community hall to campaign for improvements on the L2602 road, which runs through the village from Kylnoracy to Power's Cross.

"The road is worse than ever this year and it has been neglected for years", says Siobhan Walsh of Kilmurry Lodge, Ballyneale, who is leading the campaign along with Mary Blanchfield and Anne Comerford.

They say there has been no maintenance on stretches of the road for 30 years and drainage work is needed, with water constantly lodging on the surface.

The residents say the road has broken down at the sides, and with an accumulation of leaves and grass at the edges it is very slippery.

They want those verges pushed back to the hedges so that the width is restored to 13 feet, compared to the present width of 10 feet in many locations.

"It has reached boiling point", says Siobhan Walsh. 

"I am annoyed that there has been no maintenance on the road. I am angry that my grandchildren and other local children cannot walk or cycle on that road.

"I'm also annoyed that the hard work of the tidy towns committee, who do an amount of work trying to keep the place right, is being frustrated. They no sooner mow a grassy area than a tractor or truck comes along and ploughs it up".

Residents say that the road must be improved for the safety of motorists bringing many of the more than 100 children who attend the local primary school and pre-school, as well as for local farmers and agricultural contractors.

"The condition of the road is making life difficult for people", says Mary Blanchfield, adding that cyclists, runners and walkers don't feel safe there.

The residents, who have collected 150 signatures for a petition to be presented to the council, accept that the road won't be re-surfaced or the bad bends removed. But they don't believe it would cost too much to have it properly maintained.

With several accidents and near-accidents in the area, they are requesting the creation of pass points, or lay-bys, where vehicles can pass each other safely; the speed limit reduced to 60 kilometres per hour; and signs indicating the speed of traffic, as well as improved flashing lights outside the school.

They say that people driving from Ballypatrick and Kilcash to Carrick-on-Suir take a longer route by Glenbower instead of travelling through Ballyneale.    

Willie Corby, the Carrick-on-Suir-based District Engineer, said the council would look at the possibility of carrying out drainage and maintenance works on the road.

"Some money is available for drainage works but there's a lot of pressure on that grant, and we'll do the best we can", he said.

He said they would talk to the residents and the council would divert water from the road surface into fields if it received permission to do so.

He said that at this time of the year, when the weather was often wet, the edges of roads tended to get driven on by tractors and large agricultural vehicles, which caused damage to the edges, as well as dragging mud onto the surface.

The L2602 was one of those narrow roads that were a feature of the roads network, and there wasn't a lot that could be done with those.