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22/09/2017

Serious Concerns Raised Over Roads Maintenance Budget

The SDLP and Alliance have expressed serious concerns after it was revealed that the NI Roads Maintenance budget for this year is to run out next month.

SDLP Infrastructure Spokesperson and West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan has called on political parties to forge an agreement.

He said: "The maintenance of our roads is vital, it is not something we can ignore. There needs to be resources available, it is matter of public safety.

"Our roads maintenance has already experienced disinvestment. But this will now be compounded by no maintenance activity for five months.

"It is incredibly frustrating that almost daily we are hearing about the strain on public services while there is no Executive in place. It’s simply not good enough. Again, we have to ask ourselves where does the buck stop? People's daily lives are now being severely impacted.

"As budget holes deepen, we are faced with the dangerous and unacceptable reality that our public services and people here are paying the price for a political failure."
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Alliance is calling on the Department of Infrastructure to plan ahead to meet essential public safety requirements.

She said: "The Department for Infrastructure is responsible for the maintenance of roads and to keep them safe, effective and reliable. Given this assessment of its budget, we need to have clarification that safety will not be put in jeopardy.

"While I appreciate the Department will be doing its best to deliver routine maintenance within its allocated budget, they must also plan ahead to meet essential public safety requirements. It is no longer appropriate for them to manage road maintenance through in-year budget hand-outs. There needs to be an appropriate balance between new road building and maintenance.

"Previous Ministers have recognised the need for planned maintenance but have chosen to invest in some projects more for populism than practicalities. Northern Ireland needs a safe road network with a planned maintenance programme, not waiting until roads are in crisis before repairing them."

(CD/MH)

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