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More than 110,000 potholes on roads across Northern Ireland

There are 110,234 carriageway surface defects, which includes potholes, cracking and depressions, across Northern Ireland's roads
Gareth McKeown

THE state of Northern Ireland's road network has been laid bare - with official figures listing more than 110,000 potholes on our roads.

The scale of the problem has been exposed after one politician counted 50 defects on a one-kilometre stretch of road on his commute and asked for a total number for Northern Ireland.

The answer from Transport NI - Northern Ireland's road authority - was 110,234 carriageway surface defects, including potholes, cracking and depressions.

The SDLP's Colin McGrath described the problem as "dangerous".

"Whenever there's potholes and parts of the tarmac missing it actually becomes very, very dangerous," the South Down MLA said.

"It's causing people to swerve, it's causing people to lose control of their vehicle, even momentarily, but if you lose control of your vehicle momentarily you can be in bother.

"Also it's the amount of damage being done to cars. Cars are driving in some rural areas where they have no other option but to go through a pothole and once they go through it there's springs broke on cars, there's tyres blowing out."

The worst affected areas are the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council which reports 18,173 defects and the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, which recorded 17,264. In the Belfast City Council area last year there were 12,260 carriageway surface defects recorded.

Although the number of road defects across the North has fallen, Mr McGrath insists more must be done.

"I think whenever we've got over 100,000 defects they're (Transport NI) clearly not doing enough. I would call for the money being allocated to the June monitoring round to be spent almost wholly on repairing our roads. Not just temporary repair, we need to see permanent solutions," said Mr McGrath.

A spokeswoman for Infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard said the budget allocated to carriageway patching for 2016/17 is £9.1 million.

And she added: "There are many factors which contribute to the deterioration of road surfaces, many a result of ongoing weather conditions. The department's priority is to ensure the safety of all road users and Transport NI manages an ongoing programme of roads maintenance."

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