SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has expressed concern that a lack of resources is continuing to cause delays in implementing necessary repairs on rural roads. The Mid Ulster MLA recently contacted Infrastructure NI to report problems on the Killybearn Road, Mullan Road, Killycolpy Road and Sunnyside Road. In their response the Department acknowledged that a lack of resources had resulted in the repair of rural roads falling behind their inspection programme.
Mr McGlone said, “I welcomed the recent announcement that £75 million is to be made available for the 2018/19 starting budget for roads structural maintenance.
“However, it is clear that this will not be sufficient to address the years of under-investment and neglect of our rural roads. It is a matter of concern that the Department has acknowledged that a lack of resources has resulted in delays in the necessary repairs of rural roads.
“In response to the concerns of local road users I recently highlighted the poor condition of the Killybearn Road, Mullan Road, Killycolpy Road and Sunnyside Road in my constituency, and there has been a positive response from Transport NI to my representations.
“I welcome confirmation from the Department that a flooding issue has been identified on the Mullan Road and that work to address this will be completed in the coming weeks. Some overlay work will also be carried out on a short section of the road.
“The Department has also confirmed that the Killycolpy Road is due to be resurfaced in May with sections of the road along existing verges to be dug out and reconstructed, followed by a full overlay of approximately 1km of carriageway.
“The Sunnyside Road will also be inspected and identified defects repaired.
“A verge strengthening has been designed to address the constant recurring failures along the Killybearn Road, but the Department has yet to find the necessary funding to allow the scheme to be built.
“However the Department has also admitted that, despite the announced additional funds, a lack of funding and staff reductions in recent years has meant that it will take some time for all roads to be inspected and appropriate repairs undertaken. They have acknowledged that the level of service they will be able to provide will still be well below what it was several years ago.
“The rural roads network is an important lifeline for local communities and is essential for the success of our rural economy.
“In the continued absence of a locally accountable Minister, the SDLP will continue to lobby for a properly resourced road maintenance programme to ensure that the rural roads network is maintained to the highest possible standard.”