Belfast Telegraph

Roadworks: Some inconvenience unavoidable while we undertake maintenance

By Andrew Murray

Every year over 50,000 street works are carried out on our roads and footways to provide and maintain services to households and businesses.

They provide a home for a complicated underground network of pipes and cables which deliver key services to the people of Northern Ireland. Many works by utility companies will have an immediate impact on customers, such as repair of faulty cables or burst pipes.

Others are essential for the safety of road users, and involve repair of defective utility covers on roads and footways.

Systems are in place to ensure details of planned works are shared between TransportNI and the utility companies to help co-ordinate works, but no one would suggest that work to restore an electricity or water supply to even a single property should be delayed to fit in with other works.

Around two per cent of works are categorised as major, and these include renewal or refurbishment of underground apparatus such as NI Water's watermain rehabilitation programme, or installation of new apparatus such as our expanding gas network. Some streets will experience more works than others, and factors such as the number of existing properties and new development or redevelopment requiring utility services, and the age and condition of existing infrastructure, all influence the number of works required.

TransportNI and the utility companies work closely together, using an established set of codes of practice to minimise disruption.

While all works cause some inconvenience, for the streets in this report almost 25% of works kept all lanes open, and fewer than one per cent involved road closures or work at peak times on traffic-sensitive streets. Whilst we make our best effort to coordinate works, it is rarely possible to arrange for different pieces of work to be undertaken at the same time in an area.

  • Andrew Murray is chief executive of TransportNI

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