No cash for cutting says Transport NI

Overgrown: A motorist's eye view of the Broughshane Road dual carriageway, taken recently, shows how overgrown some areas adajcent to roadways have become. Picture: Johnny Olphert
Overgrown: A motorist's eye view of the Broughshane Road dual carriageway, taken recently, shows how overgrown some areas adajcent to roadways have become. Picture: Johnny Olphert

Uncut grass at busy road ends “could eventually lead to a major accident” in the borough, a Mid & East Antrim Councillor has said.

Cr John Carson’s comment came at the monthly meeting of Council in the wake of confirmation from Transport NI that grass cutting is among various routine maintenance services which will be impacted on by “budget pressure”.

Correspondence presented to councillors last Monday night from DRD Minister Danny Kennedy’s office, however, pointed out that “Transport NI will not be allowing road safety related maintenance to be stopped altogether” and that their internal workforce will provide “a skeletal routine maintenance service”.

The letter stated that the workforce will cut grass areas in Mid & East Antrim “once” between April and October, this year, with sightlines at bends and junctions “being cut more frequently as required”.

It also pointed out that other local authorities, including Antrim & Newtownabbey, have undertaken grass cutting and that “Transport NI has supported this through access to their contractors or where Transport NI staff will cut grass and be reimbursed by the Council”.

Mid & East Antrim CEO Anne Donaghy told councillors that such an initiative would carry “a price tag” and that she would be meeting with Transport NI’s Northern Divisional Manager the following day to find out more detail including the potential financial implications.

Cr Paul Maguire said Council should steer clear of grass cutting fearing it could set a precedent. “Next month we could get a ‘Dear John’ from Simon Hamilton, the next month from John O’Dowd,” he said.

Cr Declan O’Loan stated: “Keeping roads safe and junctions is the single most important issue around this. How this does not fall to Transport NI I can’t conceive.”