Infrastructure minister vows to spend more money on road maintenance
STORMONT minister Chris Hazzard has pledged to increase the money spent on roads maintenance after a £83m shortfall was revealed.
The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) said the minister recognised the level of investment in structural maintenance had fallen in the period before he came into office and he "will be working to enhance funding (for the roads network) in this and future years".
The statement came after the Irish News revealed there were more than 2,800 claims made in the last financial year as a result of roads or footpaths being in disrepair.
It also revealed that in the past five years there were 4,000 instances where works by utility companies on the roads did not meet the necessary safety standard.
In response DfI said it was "mindful" of the increasing number of public liability claims.
Factors cited for the increase included "traffic volumes, the underlying condition of the road network, long term weather patterns and the level of road maintenance."
It also noted "a number of competing capital priorities in the roads, water and transport sectors, including roads structural maintenance".
Last month The Irish News reported how spending on road maintenance in the north was £83 million below recommended levels last year while there has been a deficit in the budget in eight of the past 10 years.
According to the DfI the deficit for the current financial year is predicted to be "around £75m".