Heavy goods vehicles going to and from the construction site of a wind farm between Boho and Belcoo have left the roads in the area “massively unsafe”, a Fermanagh and Omagh district councillor has warned.
Speaking at the council’s March monthly meeting, independent Erne West representative Bernice Swift alleged that the heavy traffic passing through the area as a result of continuing work on the Ora More wind farm had contributed to the “extremely atrocious” state of the local roads, currently peppered with potholes.
Based in the townlands of Killycreen East and Killycreen West, the Ora More wind farm is owned by Irish renewable energy investment business, NTR plc, and is expected to be operational by the end of the year.
It is estimated that the six turbines at the site will generate enough electricity to power around 13,000 homes.
During the monthly meeting earlier this month, Ms Swift called on chief executive, Brendan Hegarty, to contact the owners of the wind farm and arrange a meeting with a delegation from the council.
Referring to the “massive deterioration” of the roads, the independent councillor said: “We strongly believe that it is as a result of the heavy traffic going up the road, and the amount of that traffic. The roads weren’t built for those types of vehicle in the first place.
“We would need a discussion and agreement from them that they would most certainly release funds to support the regeneration and sustainability of roads in that area.”
Calling on the chief executive to make “urgent contact”, Ms Swift said it might be useful to have a representative of Transport NI at the meeting as well.
“We know their budget is already tight and they have made it quite clear they don’t have the resources to fill the potholes we already have, never mind the ones we are going to have in the future,” she said.
However, fellow Erne West councillor Brendan Gallagher, told the meeting that it was his understanding that the owners of Ora More wind farm had given a commitment to provide funds for the upkeep of the roads, as well as to make “annual benefits payments” to residents living within a one kilometre radius of the site.
“I think that needs to be teased out,” the SDLP councillor added.
Meanwhile, a Boho resident has contacted the Impartial Reporter to praise the lorry drivers from RJ Mitten & Sons who have travelling to and from Ora More wind farm.
Ann Isherwood said: “For months, Mitten lorries have been delivering stones to Ora More wind farm, Boho.
“They have to travel a narrow, twisted, bumpy road, and they are the most courteous drivers you would get. They pull into the side when you meet them, and if you are following them they will pull in and stop to let you pass.”
She added: “Well done boys. You are a credit to yourselves and the firm you work for.”
A spokesperson for Ora More wind farm owners, NTR, said: “We can confirm that the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has contacted us to meet with staff in the Council and we have made contact with them to set up the meeting. We maintain regular contact with Road Service NI (Enniskillen Office) about the condition of the roads and, as is the norm, any damage due to the works on the wind farm will be fully rectified and funded by the wind farm.
“Before the wind farm construction commenced, we carried out a detailed road condition survey to ensure reinstatement of the roads to their prior condition at the end of the wind farm works.
“In the meantime, certain remedial works have already been carried out on roads in the area. Over the coming weeks we will continue to maintain regular contact with Roads Service and will work with them to complete the outstanding repairs as soon as is possible. Prior to works on-site, with the agreement of Road Service, we constructed 24 permanent passing bays on the Boho road which will improve traffic flow and overall road safety into the future.”
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