Minister to bid for more roads maintenance funds

Mid & East Antrim Borough Council. (Editorial Image).
Mid & East Antrim Borough Council. (Editorial Image).

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy says he will be making “a strong bid” for funding in monitoring rounds to return routine maintenance to normal levels.

Speaking ahead of last Tuesday’s meeting between TransportNI and Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, he said more than half of the cuts facing his department in 2015-2016 of £60m will fall to TransportNI and will have a significant impact on maintenance activities in all areas.

“As it stands, my budget does not provide for sufficient service provision in areas like repair of potholes, street lights and traffic signals and other measures such as gully emptying and grass cutting at junctions,” Mr Kennedy said.

“As a result, my Department has no option other than to cut back on the routine maintenance of the network. There will be no funding available for external contractors to carry out routine road maintenance, however, the Departments’ internal workforce will be providing a skeleton service for the first part of the year, at least.”

He said while road inspections will currently continue as normal only the highest priority potholes will be repaired and that gully emptying and grass cutting services will be provided on a reduced scale.

“There will be limited weed control, maintenance of white lines and only one quarter of the required resource available to repair street lighting outages,” said the Minister.