Rural roads network is an important lifeline

Potholes are a significant problem on many rural roads across Northern Ireland.
Potholes are a significant problem on many rural roads across Northern Ireland.

The rural roads network is an important lifeline for local communities and essential for the success of our rural economy, a Mid Ulster MLA has stressed.

Patsy McGlone spoke out this week about the importance of maintaining the area’s road network to an acceptable standard and voiced concerns that “a lack of resources is continuing to cause delays in implementing necessary repairs” on many routes.

Patsy McGlone MLA.

Patsy McGlone MLA.

The SDLP man recently contacted the Department for Infrastructure to report problems on several local roads, including the Killybearn Road, Mullan Road, Killycolpy Road and Sunnyside Road.

He revealed that the department’s response acknowledged that a lack of resources had resulted in the repair of rural roads falling behind their inspection programme.

“I welcomed the recent announcement that £75 million is to be made available for the 2018/19 starting budget for roads structural maintenance,” Mr McGlone said. “However, it is clear that this will not be sufficient to address the years of under-investment and neglect of our rural roads. It is a matter of concern that the department has acknowledged that a lack of resources has resulted in delays in the necessary repairs of rural roads.

“In response to the concerns of local road users I recently highlighted the poor condition of the Killybearn Road, Mullan Road, Killycolpy Road and Sunnyside Road in my constituency, and there has been a positive response from TransportNI to my representations.”

He said he has received confirmation from the department that work will be carried out to address a flooding issue on the Mullan Road, Killycolpy Road is due to be resurfaced in May and repairs will be carried out on Sunnyside Road.

“In the continued absence of a locally accountable Minister, the SDLP will continue to lobby for a properly resourced road maintenance programme to ensure that the rural roads network is maintained to the highest possible standard,” Mr McGlone added.