Roads Minister Chris Hazzard has now confirmed £10 million will be spent on improving the condition of rural roads.
And the Southern area is to benefit from a £3.3 million share.
That will cover the majority of the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council areas.
Respectively – as reported yesterday – those two areas take up first and second place with regards to the most potholes and defects.
In fact, over 18,000 were recorded in the ABC borough last year – almost 6,000 more than the biggest council area of Belfast.
Originally £5 million had been earmarked for resurfacing work on 1,000 rural roads across Northern Ireland.
But additional funding has now been made available.
Minister Hazzard said: “I am delighted to announce today that rural communities across the region will benefit from a £10million road improvement package to stop deterioration and repair severe defects on their local road network.
“The improvements will target around 1,000 rural roads, repairing many short lengths of road (20-50m) in particularly poor condition, together with a number of longer resurfacing schemes of around one kilometre.
“In this difficult financial period, it is of course necessary to prioritise resources, but for too long rural communities have dropped down the priority list. Today will go some way to addressing that imbalance and giving rural communities across the region roads that are fit for purpose and that will stand the test of time and weather.”
The Department is currently considering areas in greatest need and will draw up programmes to enable work to start as soon as possible.
Allocations will be made using a range of weighted indicators based on numbers of defects, numbers of public liability claims, carriageway area together with road condition data from visual and machine surveys.
There are 18,095km of rural roads across Northern Ireland, with the following breakdown across Transport NI’s four divisions: Northern 3,743km, Southern 5,500km, Eastern 8,64km, Western 7,988km.
The indicative divisional allocations based on these indicators are as follows : Northern – £2.0million; Southern – £3.3million; Eastern – £0.9million; and Western – £3.8millio
In addition to resurfacing, the initiative provides the potential for some additional road drainage enhancements to address a number of surface ponding issues at various locations across the rural network.