Transport Minister Danny Kennedy has commended roads staff and contractors for the successful completion of road schemes in 2014/2015 which accounted for £20.37million investment in the roads infrastructure in the Causeway Coast & Glens council area.
The Minister also said that his Department was facing £60million of cuts in 2015/16, more than half of which will fall to TransportNI, which is having a significant impact on services in particular maintenance activities in all areas.
Speaking ahead of this evening’s meeting between TransportNI and Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, the Minister said: “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. 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.
“Road inspections will currently continue as normal, however, only the highest priority potholes will be repaired. 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. Contractors will still be employed to carry out electrical inspection and testing of street lights and the repair of hazardous electrical and structural defects.
“I will be making a strong bid for resource funding in monitoring rounds to return routine maintenance services to normal levels.
“However despite the cuts, a wide range of road improvement and maintenance schemes are planned or already complete in the Causeway Coast & Glens council area.
“In April the main construction work commenced on the scheme to dual 7.8 kilometres of the A26 Frosses Road between Glarryford crossroads and Drones Road. Work on the £55million scheme will continue for a period of 28 months, with completion expected in summer 2017.
“The impact of current resource budget pressures on my Department is affecting routine maintenance of the road network; however capital budgets are less affected. Departmental officials will continue to develop resurfacing and traffic management schemes, to enhance safety, to improve traffic flow and provide measures for pedestrians and cyclists,” said Danny Kennedy.
At the meeting, Northern Division Manager, Deidre Mackle, outlined a number of improvement and maintenance schemes that were completed in 2014/15.
She said: “The carriageway improvement on the A29 Ring Road between the Lodge Road and Ballycastle Road roundabouts which now provides two lanes in each direction and includes a combined cycle / footway has been completed. In addition the junctions with Newmills Road and access into ASDA have been signalised and the MOVA traffic control system on Lodge Road Roundabout was upgraded. This £1million scheme has increased capacity and traffic progression through the Lodge Road roundabout and the Ring Road while enhancing safety for all road users including pedestrians and cyclists.
“Other significant areas of work completed by the Division include over 1kilometre of cycle/footway on Corkey Road, Loughguile to connect the hamlets of Ben Vista and Rockend. A further 1 kilometre of cycle/footway was provided on A6 Foreglen Road from Dernaflaw Cottages to link to the existing network just west of Feeney Road Dungiven. Construction of 430 metres of footway extending through Gortnaghey village which included drainage upgrade and local carriageway widening was also completed at a cost of £76,000.
“Approximately 50kilometres of carriageway was resurfaced at a total cost of £5.5million in 2014/15 at locations including A29 Drumcroon Road, A2 Portstewart Road, Sandelford Bridge, and Strand Road roundabout Coleraine; A6 Glenshane Pass and B66 Ringsend Road, Limavady; A26 Newbridge Road and A44 Drones Road Ballymoney; C106 Glendun Road Cushendall and South Spine Road in Rathlin Island.”