Only the worst pot holes are to be repaired by Transport NI across Mid Ulster for the forseeable future, the MAIL has learned.
In an area of Northern Ireland which has some of the poorest road conditions - and indeed some of the biggest pot holes - the news will frustrate motorists who find themselves negotiating sub-standard routes on a daily basis.
While the Department of Regional Development (DRD), which has responsibility for Transport NI, told the MAIL they “simply can’t spend money we don’t have”, local politicians are calling the news “worrying”.
A DRD spokesperson explained that, although road inspections will continue, only the “highest priority” pot holes will be repaired, while gully emptying and grass cutting will be provided on a reduced scale.
“The Department will prioritise the repair of defects so that the most urgent defects are repaired first to ensure the impact on road safety is minimised”, continued the spokeswoman. “The Department simply cannot spend money that it does not have and in taking forward the skeleton service it is proceeding at financial risk until the outcome of June monitoring is known.”
Meanwhile, Mid Ulster Assembly Member, Patsy McGlone, says he has written to the Minister with responsibility for roads to ask for something to be done to address the shocking state of the Killycolpy Road in Ardboe which, he told the MAIL, is breaking up in places.
A DRD spokesperson explained that, although road inspections will continue, only the “highest priority” pot holes will be repaired, while gully emptying and grass cutting will be provided on a reduced scale
Mr McGlone has also advised several motorists to lodge claims with the DRD following damage to their vehicles.
Sinn Fein councillor for the area, Ronan McGinley, was more stark in his warnings about the safety of road users, stating that drivers were being forced to swerve to avoid colliding with one particularly gaping hole.
Cllr McGinley said the situation was “a disaster waiting to happen”.
“This pot hole has the potential to put someone off the road. I can’t say it any clearer than that”, he continued. “I hope Transport NI can do something to fix this before a serious accident occurs.”