The recent cold snap left some roads in Newtownabbey in a “lethal” state because they hadn’t been gritted, Alderman Nigel Hamilton has claimed.
He said he reported his concerns about the condition of minor roads to the Department of Regional Development (DRD) Roads Service but was not given assurances that anything could be done.
The alderman explained he had been approached by a number of his constituents who were afraid to venture out in the treacherous weather.
“The level of isolation being felt by many elderly people at this time because of the icy conditions is a matter which we need to monitor,” he said.
“In the Carnvue area I received a number of calls from older residents concerned at the dangerous conditions and one gentleman slipped and lost his glasses in a fall.
“While I received an understanding ear from Road Services I was not given the assurances I wanted, that action would be taken to treat the Carnvue area or other residential areas.
“My concern was further heightened when after examining four yellow grit boxes between Ballyeaston and Glengormley there was absolutely no grit in any of them.”
A DRD spokesperson said it was policy to salt main through routes carrying more than 1,500 vehicles per day.
The same would apply to other busy through routes carrying more than 1,000 vehicles per day, where there are potentially difficult driving hazards such as steep hills.
“Efforts are also made to ensure that small settlements of more than 100 dwellings have a treated link to the salted network,” the spokesperson explained.
“Consideration is given to placing grit piles or salt bins at hills, bends or junctions on roads that are not salted.
“The salting operation is vital to keep main road traffic moving in wintry conditions and is carried out in line with the procedures agreed by the Assembly.
“On average there are around 75 call outs each year and a massive 55,000 tonnes of salt is spread by Roads Service to help drivers cope with wintry conditions.
“While we can understand the concerns of those who use the more lightly trafficked roads that are not included in the salted network, it is simply not possible to salt all roads.”
With freezing conditions set to continue, motorists are being urged by the police to drive with caution and leave extra time for their journey.