Limerick City and County Councils have secured almost 4,000 tonnes of rock salt to treat Limerick’s roads during the coming winter.

Just over 75%, or 3,360 tonnes, of the available salt stock is currently in storage and has been held over from last winter, which was one of the mildest in recent years. An additional 600 tonnes is available to the councils to draw down when required from the National Roads Authority (NRA) and the Department of Transport (DTTAS).

Paul Crowe, Director of Services, Travel and Transportation explained that Limerick City and County Councils’ fleet of 26-tonne salt spreader trucks, each equipped with GPS systems, is well placed to manage and coordinate road main-tenance operations during the winter season.

He continued: “Our salt stocks will be used to treat strategic national and non-national routes around the city and county during the coming weeks and months. For the first time, Limerick’s motorway and dual carriageways will be treated directly by contractors on behalf of the NRA, which assumed responsibility for the national motorway network earlier this year.”

The ‘Winter Maintenance – Salting routes 2013-2014’ are available to view on the Council websites at www.lcc.ie and www.Limerickcity.ie, and are divided into two categories. The salting routes are categorised as Priority 1 and Priority 2. Priority 1 relates to national and secondary roads, priority regional roads and some access routes to public facilities, such as the University Hospital Limerick in Dooradoyle. Priority 2 relates to Limerick’s remaining regional road network, and heavily trafficked local primary routes.

The winters of 2011/12 and 2012/13 were much milder than the previous two winters with above average temperatures recorded throughout Limerick for much of the time. However, spring 2013 was colder than average. Late November and December 2010 brought prolonged periods of cold weather which led to significant disruption to traffic and travel across Limerick. Mercury levels dipped to a seasonal low of minus 11.4c in the midwest region. The Big Freeze of December 2009 and January 2010 also saw record low temperatures being broken.