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Roads funds running out

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Transport officials admit cutbacks will limit the number of repairs in Mid-Ulster

Budget pressures means there will be less money to fix roads in Mid-Ulster.

This was confirmed by Transport NI's Divisional Roads Manager, Conor Loughrey at a meeting with Mid-Ulster District Councillors last week.

Members of the Council were told that the current budget means "there are likely to be knock-on impacts for services including routine maintenance of the road network".

They were also informed that the Department is merely "doing its best" to meet "routine maintenance services" expectations.

Mr Loughrey said: "In relation to routine maintenance, the indicative budget outlined by the Secretary of State in April does mean that there are likely to be knock-on impacts for services including routine maintenance of the road network and in this area, the Department will be reliant on additional resource funding becoming available.

"We understand the implications of the limited service and its long term impacts on the network and are doing our best to deliver routine maintenance services within the allocated budget.

"The Department's objective is to continue to deliver routine road maintenance services at the current level for as long as possible. While services will be constrained, we are planning to meet all essential public safety requirements."

Mid-Ulster Councillors were also updated on various planned road works schemes in the area.

Projects in Fivemiletown, Donaghmore, Stewartstown were among the schemes outlined by Transport NI's Divisional Roads Manager, Conor Loughrey.

It was also stated that the A6 scheme, which has been the subject of extensive and expensive legal battles "will significantly benefit the Mid-Ulster area".

Addressing the meeting, Mr Loughrey said: "At a strategic level, the A6 is a key scheme which will significantly benefit the Mid-Ulster area. Construction works have commenced on the A6 Randalstown to Castledawson dualling scheme which will provide approximately 14.7km of new dual carriageway with 7.3km between Randalstown and Toome and 7.4km between Toome and Castledawson.

"It will not only reduce journey times but also improve safety for 18,000 daily users and benefit local communities by reducing traffic on local roads."

Mr Loughrey also confirmed a number of programmed works on a more minor scale.

He said: "At a local level, the Mid-Ulster Council area will see the commencement of a number of Local Transport and Safety Measure schemes.

"These will include a right turning lane on the A4 Ballagh Road close to Fivemiletown, a new puffin crossing on Ballyronan Road in Magherafelt and a new footway on the Coalisland Road in Stewartstown.

"A number of resurfacing projects are also planned to commence shortly including A29 Moneysharvan Road, Swatragh and B43 Pomeroy Road, Donaghmore.

Concluding, Conor Loughrey said: "It is also worth noting other projects in the Mid Ulster area recently completed, including the 35million A31 Magherafelt Bypass which opened to traffic in October last year, the extension to the Park and Share at Castledawson Roundabout and a bridge extension scheme on Milltown Bridge on Craigadick Road, Maghera.

"Significant street lighting renewal schemes were also completed in Granville Industrial Estate and Dungannon Road Aughnacloy. This investment will bring significant benefits to everyone in the Mid-Ulster area for decades to come."

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