Belfast Telegraph

Safety fears as road repair cash runs out

By Donna Deeney

Safety will be put at risk because funds for road repairs are about to run out, it has been warned.

The Department for Infrastructure said it will have spent the £43 million set aside for road maintenance for this financial year by the end of next month.

Motoring organisation the AA claimed the situation could put people's lives in danger.

A spokesman warned that not repairing roads could be a false economy.

He explained: "We are just about to go into the winter and if there isn't any money to deal with holes in the roads that is going to be very serious.

"If cars get damaged, drivers will try to get compensation, which could turn out to be more expensive for the department than if they fill in the potholes."

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong called for answers about the shortfall in the road maintenance budget.

She said: "Given this assessment of its budget, we need to have clarification that safety will not be put in jeopardy."

SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan said: "The maintenance of our roads is vital, it is not something we can ignore."

The Department for Infrastructure said: "The department remains in contact with colleagues in the Department of Finance in an effort to improve the funding position, however there are many competing priorities in the roads, water and transport sector and the current budgetary position means funding is limited and difficult decisions have to be made."

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