Belfast Telegraph

Stormont thrift blamed for state of roads as only worst potholes fixed

By Adrian Rutherford

The worst road in Northern Ireland can be revealed - as pressure mounts on Stormont to invest in our crumbling infrastructure.

More than 330 defects have been reported in the space of two years on the Glenside Road in West Belfast.

A new pothole appears on the 1.8-mile stretch of tarmac-scarred roadway every two days on average.

It tops a list released by the Department for Regional Development (DRD) of the 50 most defective roads in Northern Ireland.

In total the 50 roads had almost 9,000 separate problems in the last two years. The details were disclosed following an Assembly question from Ukip MLA David McNarry.

Mr McNarry, who sits on the regional development committee at Stormont, said the problems were exacerbated by a "slapdash" approach to repairs.

"These potholes are just given a lick of tar - in other words they are not filling the things in properly," he said.

"It is a slapdash approach, it doesn't work and it's just daft economics."

On Saturday this newspaper reported how only the very worst potholes are being patched up.

Meanwhile, DRD officials are sifting through hundreds of compensation claims from furious motorists whose cars have been damaged by crumbling roads.

Officials do not use the word pothole, and instead refer to "surface defects".

Mr McNarry requested a list of the 50 roads with the most defects in 2013 and 2014.

Further research by this newspaper shows the roads had a total of 8,988 defects in that two-year period.

That is the equivalent of 25 new problems springing up every day on those 50 roads alone.

It doesn't include the many other roads across Northern Ireland awash with potholes and not included in Mr Kennedy's answer.

The worst affected include:

  • The Glenside Road near Dunmurry, which had 333 surface defects;
  • Annvale Road, a 2.4-mile stretch near Keady, Co Armagh, where 244 defects were reported;
  • The Carnhill estate in Londonderry, which had 232 defects;
  • And the Glen Road near Omagh, which runs for less than a mile but had 224 defects reported over the two-year period.

Unite official Gareth Scott said: "Planning which potholes will be dealt with is now happening on a day-to-day basis with only the very worst category on major roads being patched."

DRD confirmed that funding is only available to repair "the most serious defects".

Belfast Telegraph


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