Transport Minister Danny Kennedy has expressed his concern over £60 million cuts to the Department for Regional Development (DRD) in 2015/16, more than half of which will fall to TransportNI.
The cuts are having a significant impact on services and in particular maintenance activities in all areas.
Speaking ahead of last night’s (3 June 2015) meeting between TransportNI and Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, the Minister (pictured) said: “As it stands, my budget does not provide for sufficient service provision in areas like repair of potholes, street lights and traffic signals and other measures such as gully emptying and grass cutting at junctions. As a result, my Department has no option other than to cut back on the routine maintenance of the network. There will be no funding available for external contractors to carry out routine road maintenance, however, the Departments’ internal workforce will be providing a skeleton service for the first part of the year, at least.
“Road inspections will currently continue as normal, however, only the highest priority potholes will be repaired. Gully emptying and grass cutting services will be provided on a reduced scale. There will be limited weed control maintenance of white lines and only one quarter of the required resource available to repair street lighting outages. Contractors will still be employed to carry out electrical inspection and testing of street lights and the repair of hazardous electrical and structural defects.
“I will be making a strong bid for resource funding in monitoring rounds to return routine maintenance services to normal levels.”
Despite the cuts, a wide range of road improvement and maintenance schemes are planned or already complete in the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council area.
Mr Kennedy added: “The impact of current resource budget pressures on my Department is affecting routine maintenance of the road network, however, capital budgets are less affected. Departmental officials will continue to develop resurfacing and traffic management schemes, to enhance safety, to improve traffic flow and provide measures for pedestrians and cyclists.”