£495k compensation payments over NI potholes

Latest news

    The recent cold snap may have made the pothole problem even worse
    Image caption The recent cold snap may have made the pothole problem even worse

    Almost £500,000 has been paid out in compensation payments to motorists whose vehicles were damaged by potholes and other road defects in the past two years.

    The figures, from the Department for Infrastructure (DfI), released under the Freedom of Information Act.

    They confirm that between 1 January, 2016 and 30 November, 2017, a total of 1,935 vehicle damage claims concluded.

    Compensation payments totalled £495,358.04.

    DfI also released figures highlighting that in 2017 more than 78,000 surface defects were recorded on nearly 16,400 stretches of road across Northern Ireland.

    Which is worst road?

    Image copyright Thomas O’Hanlon
    Image caption The surface at Farnaloy Road, Madden, in County Armagh

    The road with the largest number of defects (108) was a stretch from Summerhill-Cherry Road near Upper Dunmurry Lane on the outskirts of west Belfast.

    This was followed by the Greenan Road (97) outside Warrenpoint and the Sixtowns Road (80) between Blackrock Road and Bealnamala Bridge near Magherafelt.

    Roads expert Wesley Johnston said it would cost more than £1bn to fully reinstate the entire 25,000km (15,534 miles) road network.

    However, with this year’s maintenance budget totalling just £63m and with the latest cold snap creating new potholes, the problem looks likely to get worse.

    “There is no doubt that as time goes on that the standard of the network and the surface of the roads is deteriorating,” he said.

    Image caption Compensation payments for vehicles damaged totalled £495,358 in the past two years – pictured are potholes at Sixmilecross

    “It is getting worse progressively over time, because each year we are under spending on maintenance so that adds to that deficit.

    “So each year another bit gets added to it. What we are really doing is creating a problem for people down the line.

    “Sooner or later there is going to have to be some reckoning because we can’t keep under spending year after year after year.”

    DfI confirmed its limited maintenance budget.

    Image copyright Thomas O’Hanlon
    Image caption Darkley Road in Keady in County Armagh

    “The 17/18 structural maintenance budget is £63m,” a spokesperson told the BBC.

    “In 2016/17 the structural maintenance outturn was £88m and in 2015/16 was £54m.

    “Public safety remains a key priority for the department and despite a challenging budgetary situation, the department has this year delivered a significant programme of resurfacing and surface dressing and continues to carry out a programme of routine maintenance, including pothole repairs and street lighting repairs, to meet all essential public safety requirements.”

    The spokesperson added that there “is a balance to be struck between building new roads and public transport provision and maintaining what we already have”.

    “The Department of Finance recently published a briefing paper which outlines the impact of a number of future budget scenarios and we would welcome comments,” they said.

    “Any decisions on budget allocation will be for a future Minister for Infrastructure.”

    It was announced last week that DfI will receive £8.1m to support roads structural maintenance and the procurement of new buses by Translink.

    Frustration

    Amanda Calderwood drives daily to and from the County Antrim villages of Broughshane and Ballyclare.

    She said her car has had two burst tyres in the last week due to potholes.

    She is frustrated with the standard of the roads she has to drive on.

    Image caption Motorist Amanda Calderwood said snow means that sometimes drivers cannot see potholes

    “I pass at least 10 to 12 potholes a day on my way to work,” she said.

    “You can avoid them sometimes but with the snow you can’t always see them, it’s impossible to avoid them.

    “I’m out of money, I know I can claim it back, but I have been told to claim it back I have get out of the car and to take a picture of the pothole.

    “One of the roads I drive on is the Colin Road in Ballyclare and there is no way, unless I had a death wish, that I would step out of the car to take a picture just to get £50 back,” she added.

    Image caption A section of a road in Omagh that vehicles have to navigate

    Karen McShane, chair of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, said going back six or seven years the budget for roads repairs was £100m per year, but that figure has been cut.

    “What we have is a £35bn asset and, if this was something that you owned, as soon as something went wrong with it you’d repair it and get it right,” she said.

    “The problem is we don’t have any ministers in place to make decisions to move money around to allow us to make those repairs.

    “You mention a figure of £500,000 [in compensation] – what is the cost of a fatality?”

    Image caption The problem is not confined to country road, as this picture from Ormeau Road in Belfast shows

    Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong, who sat on the assembly’s infrastructure committee, said: “The budget projections going forward means that instead of spending £100m we’ll be lucky if we get £20m spent on our roads going forward.

    “They’re talking about turning off all street lights in another couple of years because we simply can’t afford it – fixing potholes on rural roads, you can forget about that.

    “We’ll be talking about fixing only those roads that are the main trunk roads into urban areas.”

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-42753629

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-42753629

    In the same category are

    Hostility to men and the elderly could become hate crimes Image copyright PA Hate crimes are offences motivated by prejudice against someone's disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender i...
    Royal tour: First glimpse of Meghan’s baby bump Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe couple were given a toy kangaroo, complete with joey, and little Ugg bootsThe Duke and...
    Paul Allen: Microsoft co-founder and billionaire dies aged 65 Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Allen announced his diagnosis earlier this month Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft, has died aged 65...
    Matthew Hedges: Durham student charged with UAE spying Image copyright Daniela Tejada Image caption Durham student Matthew Hedges has been held in solitary confinement for five months, his wife says A ...
    UK cyber-centre thwarts hostile hackers Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The NCSC believes most of the attacks it repelled were perpetrated from within nation states hostile to ...
    Newspaper headlines: Call for Bercow to quit and Meghan baby news By BBC News Staff Image caption A "damning" inquiry into the "toxic" work culture in the House of Commons is the front page story in the i. The ...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.