‘Road network in Larne has deteriorated to unacceptable level,’ claims DUP

Gordon Lyons MLA and Cllr Angela Smyth on the Upper Cairncastle Road.
Gordon Lyons MLA and Cllr Angela Smyth on the Upper Cairncastle Road.

Parts of the Larne road network are in an unacceptable condition, it has been claimed.

East Antrim DUP MLA Gordon Lyons and Mid and East Antrim Councillor Angela Smyth have raised the issue with the Department for Infrastructure after being contacted by residents.

In a joint statement, Mr Lyons and Cllr Smyth said: “Over the past number of months, the road network in Larne has deteriorated to an unacceptable level. Local people are rightly frustrated at the poor state of the roads and the apparent inaction of the authorities to address the situation.

“The Upper Cairncastle Road and the Churchill Road are two such examples of the poor conditions of roads in Larne.

We have written to DfI Roads and requested that these roads be resurfaced as a priority. Allowing the roads to deteriorate further will be more expensive in the long run and any delay runs the risk of causing further damage to the vehicles of local people.”

In response, a Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said: “The 2018/2019 roads structural maintenance capital budget has been significantly increased to £75m and this is a welcome increase on recent years allocations. It is worth saying that continued investment on the road network in future years is essential to allow the Department to maintain this important asset. Of the £75 allocation this year £15m has been set aside for a Roads Recovery Fund which will address areas of immediate need across the road network.

“This year’s winter weather has been more severe and prolonged than usual and this has undoubtedly affected the condition of the road network, in particular in rural areas. Indeed, the Department’s winter service team have spread 117,000 tonnes of salt, the most ever used in one season. In addition, almost 40,000 surface defects have been repaired in the last few months.

“The increased allocation along with the Roads Recovery Fund will enable significant improvements to be made to the surface and the Department is confident that roads users will notice these improvements.

“It is acknowledged that the financial position experienced by the Department for Infrastructure over the last four years has not been ideal and has resulted in less repairs being carried out to the road network than in previous years. This reduced investment in the road network is also contributing to the backlog in the road maintenance programme which is estimated to be around £1 billion.”