Belfast Telegraph

Roads from hell revealed: Worst places for roadworks in Northern Ireland

Commuter misery over route worked on every three days

By Adrian Rutherford

One of Belfast's busiest commuter routes has been dug up a staggering 500 times in the last five years.

The Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast is one of the most excavated streets in the UK.

Workmen have carried out repairs on the 3.6-mile carriageway every three days on average.

It tops a list of the most dug-up roads in Northern Ireland.

>>Scroll down for the Top 50<<

A second busy route, the Antrim Road in north Belfast, has seen more than 460 separate roadworks in the same five-year period.

Each year 50,000 roadworks are carried out on streets and footways across Northern Ireland - equivalent to 137 a day.

Today the Belfast Telegraph reveals the 50 routes worst affected by roadworks.0

At the head of the list is the Upper Newtownards Road, where 495 repairs have taken place between 2009 and November 2014.

The road, running from Dundonald into Belfast, is one of the city's main arterial routes and carries thousands of vehicles every day.

Repairs were taking place on the road as recently as Friday morning, causing inconvenience for rush hour commuters.

Just 27 of the 495 incidents were described as emergency repairs. Another 29 were listed as "urgent".

The other roadworks included replacing pipes, clearing blockages and surface repairs.

The details were disclosed in documents released by the Department for Regional Development.

David McNarry MLA, who sits on the Assembly's regional development committee, said there was no excuse for digging up a road nearly 500 times.

"The mindboggling numbers do pose the question - when are the roads ever free from being dug up and resurfaced?" he said.

"I understand the criteria within TransportNI is to co-ordinate works and minimise inconvenience to road users as far as possible.

"I think the 'as far as possible' bit is stretching the public's toleration.

"One road has to be uprooted 495 times, another 461 times. This is crazy stuff and beggars belief."

The list of most dug-up streets also includes Belfast's Crumlin Road (314 repairs) and Ormeau Road (249 repairs).

Meanwhile, 247 roadworks took place on the Saintfield Road, which is also notorious as having Northern Ireland's most prolific speed camera.

Between them the top 50 roads had 9,189 different repairs carried out in the last five years.

Hugh Bladon from the Alliance of British Drivers campaign group said the figures were "extraordinary".

"To have the roads dug up that many times is just unbelievably stupid," he said.

"These people really need to knock their heads together and get some sort of plan in place.

"I understand there will be emergencies which have to be fixed straight away.

"But where it is maintenance work it needs to be planned so that all the work is being done at the same time and motorists are not being inconvenienced."

The high number of roadworks in Belfast isn't far behind some of the UK's biggest cities.

In Birmingham, the second largest city, the busy Broad Street has been dug up 684 times in five years.

According to DRD, around 50,000 works are carried out on roads and footways in Northern Ireland each year.

The most common are repairs to manhole and valve covers, fixing burst pipes and installing new gas connections.

Andrew Murray from TransportNI, which has responsibility for our roads, said every step was taken by crews to minimise disruption.

"While all works cause some inconvenience, for the streets in this report almost 25% of works kept all lanes open at all times, and fewer than one per cent involved road closures or work during peak traffic times on traffic sensitive streets," he said.

The 50 roads with highest number of roadworks

1. Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast: 495

2. Antrim Road, Belfast: 461

3. Crumlin Road, Belfast: 314

4. Ormeau Road, Belfast: 249

5. Saintfield Road (Ormeau Road To Lisdoonan Road): 247

6. Lisburn Road, Belfast: 242

7. Oldpark Road, Oldpark: 234

8. Doagh Road, Newtownabbey: 232

9. Springfield Road, Belfast: 230

10. Donegall Road, Belfast: 225

11. Antrim Road, Glengormley: 215

12 Carnhill, Londonderry: 210

12 Shore Road, Newtownabbey: 210

14. Holywood Road, Belfast: 194

15. Ravenhill Road, Belfast: 193

16. Shore Road, Belfast: 181

17. Glen Road, Belfast: 180

18. Upper Lisburn Road, Belfast: 174

19. Ballynahinch Road (A24 Drumalig Road To Moss Road): 172

20. Newtownards Road, Belfast: 169

21. Cliftonville Road, Cliftonville: 168

22. Castlereagh Road, Belfast: 166

23. Whitewell Road, Whitewell: 165

24. Belmont Road, Garnerville: 164

25. Falls Road, Belfast: 162

26. Comber Road (Upper Newtownards Road to Boundary): 158

27. Malone Road, Belfast: 155

28. Stranmillis Road, Stranmillis: 152

29: Woodstock Road, Belfast: 151

30. Strand Road, Londonderry: 147

31. Kingsway, Dunmurry: 140

32. Beersbridge Road, Belfast: 139

33. Ballygomartin Road, Ballygomartin: 137

34. University Street, Botanic: 134

35 Alliance Avenue, Ardoyne: 133

35 Donegall Avenue Windsor: 133

37. Andersonstown Road, Belfast: 132

38. Drumbeg, Brownlow: 130

39. Saintfield Road, Lisburn: 129

40. Limavady Road, Londonderry: 127

41. Lantara, Ballymena: 126

42. Victoria Road, Bready: 125

43 Belsize Road, Lisburn: 123

43 Rathfriland Road: 123

45. Moira Road, Lisburn: 121

46 Ardowen, Brownlow: 120

46 Ballyclare Road, Glengormley: 120

46 Crockanboy Road, Greencastle: 120

46 Groomsport Road, Bangor: 120

50 Ballysillan Road, Ballysillan: 117

50 Culmore Road, Londonderry: 117

50 Shankill Road, Shankill: 117

* January 2010 to November 2014, source: Department for Regional Development

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