Following the heavy rain last Monday residents of Aston Village and Termonabbey found themselves driving around and through a flood when exiting their estates.
Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Cunningham called the predicament ‘precarious’ and described it as having been ‘avoidable’.
Cllr Cunningham said “I notified Irish Water several weeks ago of the drains being blocked in the area stressing the urgency needed to get them cleared because of the adverse weather we have been having.
“Following the heavy rain on Monday, I contacted the Council following reports from local residents and then went to Aston Village. The road was flooded and the water was rising with nowhere to go. The drains obviously had not been cleared. Residents were
Cllr Tom Cunningham & Resident Kenneth Flood
finding it difficult accessing and exiting their estates.
“The Council staff arrived and immediately started work. I want to thank the Council workers who tended the area and for their quick response, it was an awful night to be out but the water started to clear and the road was eventually made passable.
“This was wholly avoidable if Irish Water had addressed my concerns weeks ago when it was first reported.”
A year ago, Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood warned Drogheda Municipal District Council that mayhem would ensue unless there was proper traffic measures put in place to cope with the volume of school traffic. That Mayhem has come to pass.
Ballymakenny College are waiting for their school building to be completed and are currently sharing the Aston Village Educate Together school which has the knock on effect of an increase in the volume of traffic in the area at school times.
Councillor Flood explained “The College pupils start time is 8:30 am and the National School Pupils start time is at 9:00 am to try and alleviate the traffic congestion caused by parents dropping their children to school. But despite the staggering of school start times the traffic congestion has reached unprecedented levels because there is no traffic management system at the junction of Newfoundwell Road and the entrance to Termon Abbey/Aston Village. There are tailbacks of more than a kilometre and it can take 40 minutes or more for parents and residents to exit the estate. This is causing extreme disruption to parents trying to drop their children to schools outside the area or residents just trying to get to work.”
This chaos was not unforeseen. There was a large roundabout in the planning permission for Aston Village but unfortunately the builders were given a waiver by Louth County Council due to Newtown Meadows being planned at that time.
Kenneth Flood has suggested “a mini-roundabout could easily fit that junction to sort out the traffic congestion problems once and for all. I am once again, requesting that a mini-roundabout be put at that junction.”
In the meantime however, “to solve the immediate and urgent traffic congestion I am requesting that timed temporary traffic lights, the ones the council use to control traffic during road works etc, be put in place at that junction until the Ballymakenny College Students take up residence in their new building outside the area.”
Cllr Flood has also contacted the Community Garda requesting them to direct traffic at school times but due to pressures on Gardaí resources, this is not a viable medium or long-term solution.
The Sinn Féin Councillor also contacted the vice-principal of the school to see if school times can be staggered even further and a meeting will be held next week to discuss the problem. “This can not continue, it is a disgrace especially as this chaos was predicted.”
Cllr Flood has gone to the junction (on foot as it’s not viable by car) and videoed the mayhem and posted it to social media. www.facebook.com/kenneth.flood.18?pnref=story
Last Thursday seen unprecedented floods all over County Louth but Aston Village got more than its fair share. The ‘dip’ is designed to retain or attenuate storm water in order to flatten out the peak runoff to the stream but something went badly wrong. A month’s rainfall fell in just one day and Councillor Kenneth Flood was caught in the middle of it.
Flood said “The consultant identified a problem with the pipe that is supposed to take the water from this area and feed it into the stream on Thursday Morning. My information was that he was to ask the council for permission to excavate this pipe and fix it. Then the heavens opened and that night seen the stream rise to twelve feet and burst its banks. That meant the only road in and out of the area became impassable.”
Councillor Flood spent the night redirecting traffic, distributing and placing sandbags to try and save houses from being flooded. “Between the Council and the army we managed to get 500 sandbags. We were told the weather was set to worsen through the night so myself and a few others opted to remain out for the night. Eight vehicles were stranded including a paramedics vehicle through the night.
“I want to thank Brian Maher and Gary Swaine for doing the first rescue before the council van and Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery came to the estate from other incidents elsewhere. Also I want to thank Louth County Council who helped extract the stranded cars and the residents who worked tirelessly through the night with a special mention to poor Chris Raymond who waded through the flood to reach his car in order to collect more sandbags.”
Councillor Kenneth Flood was still there in the morning when the pupils of AV Educate Together NS started arriving for school. “We blocked the road with cones so no vehicles would attempt to get through and get stranded. We requested parents walk their children to the school and directed traffic along the pathway for those parents who had very small children, one car at a time. Such was the danger from the 8 foot of water in the attenuation area directly adjacent to the footpath, Kevin Butler was wearing a dry suit in case he needed to go into the water to rescue someone. I can’t thank Kevin Butler enough for all of his all of his help all through the night.”
Councillor Flood ended by saying “this whole episode has shown us everything that is good about the community minded citizenry of this country and what a community can achieve when they pull together in times of trouble”.
Picture shows, Kenneth Flood and Cllr Imelda Munster
Sinn Féin Councillor Imelda Munster has announced details in relation to the taking in charge by the council of Termon Abbey and Aston Village. Continue reading