Newtownabbey’s roads are in a Third World condition, according to a local councillor.
Alderman Nigel Hamilton has criticised the “appalling conditions” of roads in the borough, stating they are full of potholes, sunken drains and manhole covers, and urged the Department for Regional Development (DRD) Roads Service to act.
He said: “After a drive through the borough I only confirmed what I knew — that the roads in Newtownabbey are in a terrible state.
“While I accept that serious damage was caused by the enduring freeze which we encountered for over five weeks and the continuing nightly sub-zero temperatures, it should not be used to conceal the fact that much of the work just has been simply not prioritised.
“I have been visiting with residents who are concerned both by the continuing lack of remedial work and the dreadful noise of cars and heavy vehicles banging over dropped water drain covers and manhole covers at the side of innumerable roads throughout the borough.
“Having spent some time with residents on the Antrim Road, I am convinced that the work that needs to be carried out is both long over-due and precedes the cold weather. Manholes and drains are blocked with rocks and have not been cleaned or emptied for months. This only adds to the flooding which has become a common occurrence.”
Alderman Hamilton claimed he was a victim of the roads.
“I hit a very bad pothole myself in the Ballyeaston Road in Ballyclare during the day. It was filled with water and caused over £260 of damage to my car. Had the necessary repair work been carried out to the roads in a timely and proactive way this would have eliminated this issue for me. Having spoken to others I know I am only the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
And he has urged DRD to act on the issue. “Given the volume of traffic on our roads I have serious concerns that the DRD are both insufficiently proactive and under financial pressure to provide the necessary response to maintaining our roads,” he said.
“In a stretch of less than two miles in Glengormley I encountered 15 serious potholes. This is common garden across the borough and requires a realistic approach from DRD to address the situation before it gets worse,” the Alderman added.
A Roads Service spokeswoman said: “Roads maintenance has a long history of under-funding and unfortunately as a result of this, the network is very susceptible to potholes and other defects.
“While we do our best to keep the network safe through a programme of routine inspections and repairs there will inevitably be accidents. Despite the financial pressures, Roads Service has resurfaced over 15.6 lane kilometres of carriageway and 1.9 kilometres of footway in the Newtownabbey area.
“Roads Service operates a system of cyclical inspections and repairs whereby roads are routinely inspected at intervals determined by traffic volume. Recorded defects are then repaired within target timescales determined by their severity and location. The prolonged cold spell this year has resulted in a significant increase in the number of recorded road surface defects.
“Road gullies are routinely cleaned twice per year and additional cleaning may be carried out as required. Defective road gullies such as those reported on the Antrim Road are made safe as soon as possible and permanent repairs are carried out on a planned basis at a later date.
“The majority of manhole and valve covers in the adopted road network belong to utility companies and consequently they are responsible for carrying out any necessary repairs. When Roads Service becomes aware of defective apparatus, the details are promptly forwarded to the relevant utility company for appropriate action.”