28/04/2006

£1 million investment for Castlereagh

The Roads Service are to invest £1 million for Castlereagh over the next 12 months.

It is understood that the money will be put towards improving roads in the east Belfast district, including the completion of significant improvements for the Milltown Road/Belvoir Road junction and resurfacing of the A24 Saintfield Road.

Deputy Divisional Roads Manager of the Eastern Division, Tom McCourt, said: “Most road users appreciate that making this sort of improvement can’t be done without some disruption to traffic. But Roads Service is making every effort to keep disruption to a minimum by completing as many major schemes as possible during the summer months when there is generally less traffic and contractors can take advantage of daylight hours and, where possible, by avoiding peak traffic times.’’

He continued: “Road Service will be making every effort to give motorists advance warning of roadworks through signage and information prior to works. There will be updated information on our website and radio traffic reports.’’

Over the last three years a total of £735 has been spent on developing and maintaining the road network in Northern Ireland, with £495 million on revenue activities including maintenance with a further £240 million being spent on capital.

Over the next 10 years the draft ISNI envisages that approximately £1.9 billion will be invested in road building subject to the availability of resources in future budget rounds, economic appraisal and statutory approvals.

An additional £166 million has also been allocated to Roads Structural Maintenance in the three years to 2007/08.

However, the budget defect repairs, street lighting, grass cutting, winter service and other safety related activities will be maintained at present levels.

Councillors were reminded of the decision, following the Review of Public Administration, that the responsibility for the maintenance, management and development of local roads will transfer to the seven new Local Authorities in Spring 2009.

Mr McCourt continued: “Roads Service is currently assessing the implications of this decision and identifying how it can help to facilitate the smooth transfer of local roads responsibilities. The associated financial, staff and other resource consequences will require careful consideration.”

Mr McCourt concluded by revealing that the Department for Regional Development is to take over the current PSNI responsibilities for parking enforcement this Autumn.

(EF)

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