Action needed to fix crumbling highways

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DUP MLA Gary Middleton has called on the Roads Minister to urgently take action to resolve the deteriorating state of the highways in Londonderry, town and country.

“I have been contacted by many constituents over recent weeks about matters under the remit of Transport NI and ultimately the Department of Regional Development (DRD) Minister Danny Kennedy,” said Mr Middleton.

“The condition of some of our roads within both the urban and rural areas are deteriorating rapidly.

“Having spoken directly with Transport NI regarding these concerns, I have been informed that unless the ‘pot hole’ is greater than four inches deep, it will not be repaired.

“With road networks in recent years being kept in a generally good condition, it will cost much more to allow them to drop below an acceptable standard to then have to bring them up to a safe standard again.

“The current situation is unacceptable and is putting road users at risk.

“I am also deeply concerned about the state of our green areas and road sides. The budget which is usually allocated to the local council here in Londonderry by Transport NI to maintain grass in urban areas has been removed, meaning that the grass which is usually cut five times per year is not getting the maintenance required.

“A similar situation is occurring in the rural area where the grass is normally cut twice per year.

“This year it will only be cut once, resulting in unsightly and overgrown roadsides for the rest of the year. After raising these concerns with Transport NI, they have also stated that they have no budget to spray weeds or clean gullies. The results of this lack of action is becoming increasingly evident as each day passes.

“I call on the DRD Minister to urgently prioritise road safety and improve the current situation. Whilst I understand that each Minister in the Executive is facing budget reductions within their departments, I do not believe that the measures taken within the DRD are necessary or justifiable.

“The two nationalist parties must also accept responsibility for further potential cuts to government departments with their failure to accept the previously agreed Welfare Reform package. The results of their stance is becoming increasingly visible in our constituencies.”