A LOCAL cycling club has revealed how it was left red faced when racers from all over Ireland picked up punctures because of potholes in Lifford.
A €2 million upgrade of Lifford’s infrastructure began late last year with the installation of a new sewage system and footpaths. And Donegal County Council confirmed this week that a full resurfacing of the border town’s road network is due to begin on February 20.
Strabane Lifford Cycling Club has scheduled its ‘Reliability Trial’ race, which attracts participants from all over the island, for February 26.
Club chairman Vincent McCarron revealed how last year, members were left embarrassed when eight racers picked up punctures between Lifford and Rossgier.
“We do plan to proceed with the event but potholes are a major concern for us after last year,” Mr McCarron said.
“You hate bringing anyone to have a bad experience and then of course it is a bad reflection on us as a club.”
This month’s race is a forerunner to a major event being lined up by Strabane Lifford Cycling Club later this year.
In June the club will host its own ‘Sportive’ challenge which is expected to attract pedigree cyclists from the length and breadth of Ireland.
Club member Michael Quigg said he hoped the roads would be repaired in time for the race, even if only on a temporary basis.
“Our club travels all over Ireland and this year we are holding our own Sportive event.
“But how can we ask people to go through Lifford as it is? These cyclists come to this area and spend their money and we want them to enjoy themselves.
“We hope to take the Sportive through the Sperrins and possibly through Strabane and Lifford. But last year was an embarrassment and we definitely won’t be bringing the route near that road if it is not fixed by June.
“But hopefully repairs are carried out, even if they are only temporary,” Mr Quigg added.
Sinn Féin councillor for Donegal, Gary Doherty, has made representations to the local authority about the roads and he said he hoped to see a major difference within eight weeks.
Donegal County Council meanwhile has confirmed that it is working closely with its contractor, FP McCann Ltd, to maintain the existing road surface.
Once the full resurfacing project is complete however, temporary pothole filling will no longer be necessary.
A spokesperson said, “The maintenance of the defects is a temporary solution and is completed as and when required. This will no longer be required when the surfacing works are completed as the extent of the works include the areas where the potholes are forming.
“The surfacing works are due to commence on February 20 and the works are to be completed by mid-April. The majority of the surfacing works will be carried out at night.”