Salt supplies run low in Longford as winter chill takes hold

Supplies of material to grit the county's icy roads could come under extreme pressure if there is any extension to the present uncertain weather conditions, Longford County Council has conceded.

Supplies of material to grit the county's icy roads could come under extreme pressure if there is any extension to the present uncertain weather conditions, Longford County Council has conceded.

"Longford County Council is continuing to treat roads in the county on a prioritised basis," the council said in a statement this week.

"Supplies of gritting salt are adequate at present. The existing stock is being managed carefully in order to ensure that the Council will be in a position to ensure that the priority routes in the county are treated for the duration of the current cold spell."

Snow showers returned to Longford town on Monday evening, while a combination of ice and freezing fog since last Friday has resulted in extremely difficult driving conditions for motorists.

A number of schools were forced to close in some of the more rural pockets of Longford as severe overnight frosts left many parts of the county covered in a potentially lethal blanket of snow and black ice.

Questions relating to the final bill facing the council, as it braced itself for probable further cuts in yesterday's (Tuesday's) Budget 2011, were still outstanding this week with local authority bosses staying very much tight-lipped.

"At this stage it is not possible to quantify the amount of gritting salt that has been used. The Council has, in the past few days, commenced the mixing of grit with the gritting salt in order to prolong the period over which the treatment of roads can be continued.

"As of Monday December 6, the Council is satisfied that it can continue to treat roads up to and including next weekend," the statement continued.

"The cost of providing the road treatment service is not yet known. It will be a number of weeks before the full cost of the operation can be quantified. The exceptional effort that is being made by the Council's employees is being acknowledged by public representatives and others," the statement continued.