AS the snow which hit the Isle of Man last month finally clears from the high ground highway workers are assessing the damage needing to be put right in time for this year’s TT races.
The island’s director of highways Richard Pearson said early estimates for the cost of the repair work were in the region of £250,000 but some of the repair work was still being completed so further costs were still mounting up.
He said not only was there the cost of repairing the actual road surfaces to consider but also the extra cost of snow clearing not to mention moving vegetation and fallen trees and repairing broken fencing.
On the positive side, he said much of the roads had survived the extreme weather intact.
‘There is no appreciable damage to the road surfaces caused by the snow - very little over and above what we would see with normal wear and tear,’ he said.
‘We have to remember the roads are still suffering from three years of particularly bad weather following the severe winters of 2010, and 2011 as well as the heavy rains of last year.’
Diggers which were used to clear the worst of the snow had caused a certain amount of damage to the roads he said, where scrape marks had been left in places. The plan is to repair these areas with patches.
The worst of the snow hit the west of the island and predictably, the most significant damage to the roads is between Ballig and Kirk Michael. Mr Pearson said the edges of the road had been most severely affected.
‘In some instances this is caused by trees falling over and the root ball taking the edge of the road away,’ he said.
‘There are other instances where the edge of the road has been affected either by the weight of the snow or by the action of diggers clearing it, or by a combination of both.’
Notably there is damage near Sarah’s Cottage where a fallen tree has taken the edge of the road with it. Similarly, at Shoughlaigue, beyond Handley’s corner, the edge of the road has collapsed as a result of the weight of snow and the stress of the diggers trying to clear it.
In some areas the road side is littered with broken or uprooted branches and vegetation. This again was caused by the volume of snow which fell crushing the gorse hedges and tearing tree branches down. This was exacerbated by the high winds and again the worst affected areas are between Ballig and Kirk Michael, though most of the debris has now been cleared. Some of the hedging has also been damaged by the diggers clearing the snow.
In many instances the snow collecting and sliding down the hillsides has damaged fences. In some cases damage was caused by the snow clearing, in which case the Department of Infrastructure is paying the repair costs.
Patch repairs have already been carried out near Handley’s where the poor weather and snow plough were the last straw for an already deteriorating surface.
TT course clerk Gary Thompson told iomtoday he and other officials would be inspecting the course rigorously as TT approaches.