Roads flood damage to cost £1.4m
The cost of repairing flood damage to roads in Northern Ireland is expected to exceed £1 million, it has been revealed.
The Ministry of Defence should be asked to help inspect coastal defences against high water, regional development minister Danny Kennedy said, as the clean-up gathers pace following the battering sustained by some areas.
Roads in parts of Co Down were badly affected last month by near-unprecedented high tides which forecasters feared could endanger lives and ruin properties, although the worst predictions did not materialise.
Mr Kennedy said remedial work was expected to cost £1.4 million.
"This figure could increase significantly once detailed inspections of sea defences are completed," he told the Stormont Assembly.
"Officers continue to assess the extent of the damage caused."
Sections of the route between Rostrevor and Warrenpoint and the coastal road near Ballyhalbert on the Ards Peninsula were closed after large waves breached defences and caused flooding earlier this year. Sandbags were distributed to home and business owners in endangered towns .
Although the Department for Regional Development received additional money from the January monitoring round budget reallocation, Mr Kennedy said extra funds could be required. A major part of the repair work is on course to be completed by the end of March.
The Ulster Unionist MLA added: "I have noted reactions by the military in relation to the inspections of the coastal defences in other parts of the UK. A similar approach would be helpful in Northern Ireland."
He said he planned to raise the issue with colleagues.
Last winter armed forces from Britain and Ireland airlifted animal fodder to rural areas cut off by heavy snow in an effort to save tens of thousands of stranded sheep.