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Additional funds secured to help repair neglected Co Armagh roads

Potholes

Additional money has been secured to help alleviate the decaying state of Co Armagh roads.

Head of the Civil Service David Sterling confirmed the extra cash for the crippling roads infrastructure, with contractors now in place to help eat into the backlog of issues reported over the winter.

SDLP Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon had written to Mr Sterling about the extraordinary lengthy time it was taking to carry out repairs.

“Local roads are in a complete mess and there is an urgent need of major repair and resurfacing works,” said councillor O’Hanlon.

“I had written to the Head of the Civil Service pleading for something to be done and I am pleased he has now confirmed additional monies has now been made available.

“I am also advised that contractors are now in place and will be working to try and clear the backlog of issues that have built up. In some instances, contractors will work throughout the night to try and ease disruption.”

He added: “Our roads network has been neglected, every road is the same. Small rural roads and major trunk roads are equally as bad. Town and city centres are in a dreadful state and despite constantly passing through complaints the problem only gets worse.

“Cars are getting damaged and motorists are taking their lives in their hands as they swerve to avoid some of the most dangerous potholes.

“Speaking to local officials, this is not a position they want to be in and they feel like their hands are tied.”

Back in 2013/2014 the Department spent £121million on maintenance across Northern Ireland.

Last year’s initial allocation was £42million but ended up as £70million when additional monies were allocated during the year.

This year’s starting position is £75million.

“£75million sounds like a lot of money but given that the department themselves estimate that there is a need for at least £140million to catch up on the amount of work needed so there is some way to go yet,” explained Mr O’Hanlon.

“Local roads are in a dreadful state of repair and we have seen some large scale patching commence in recent weeks. I fully expect this to be stepped up in the weeks ahead, contractors have been brought in to assist but there is a long backlog of works to get through and even at that more money will still be required.

“The gap between what is committed and what is needed is still £70million and this will only get worse if more funds are not allocated.

“The confirmation that more money has been secured is a very welcome start, but it’s only a start. This needs to be followed up with more funds this year and in the years ahead.”

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