Fears of worse to come as weather bites

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy was in Ballymena this week to inspect some of the 40 strong new gritter fleet that will be in service across Northern Ireland fighting ice and snow during this year's Winter period. Pictured with Transport NI's Gareth McMullan and Damian McQuillan at Ballykeel Depot.

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy was in Ballymena this week to inspect some of the 40 strong new gritter fleet that will be in service across Northern Ireland fighting ice and snow during this year's Winter period. Pictured with Transport NI's Gareth McMullan and Damian McQuillan at Ballykeel Depot.

0
Have your say

Icy conditions on Monday morning caused havoc on the roads and footpaths with fears of worse to come due to Roads Service cutbacks.

Ratepayers were on the phone to their elected representatives in force to raise concerns about treacherous conditions for motorists and pedestrians.

Upper Bann MP David Simpson was unhappy with the response times of statuary authorities to tackle the freezing temperatures on Monday morning.

He said: “As many of us carried out our usual Monday morning routine, we simply could not help but be shocked at the state of roads and pavements right across this constituency.

“My offices received a number of calls from parents, teachers, business owners and elderly folk who had grave concerns with the conditions they faced.

“Many of the roads and footpaths leading to schools, nurseries and GP surgeries were not gritted.

“I want to ask the Roads Service why they failed to respond effectively despite a week long warning from the Met Office, was this response a direct consequence of the on-going cuts?

“I recognise that the Department of Regional Development is facing tough financial pressures but priority must be shown when the safety of our young and elderly is at a severe risk.”

A DRD spokesperson said “On Monday, December 8, roads included in the salted routes in the Lurgan area were treated three times. Treatments took place at 2.30am, 6.30am and again at 8.30am.”

He added: “The Department has almost 300 staff and over 120 gritters on standby to ensure the main roads are salted, helping drivers to cope with wintry conditions. The roll-out of the winter service operation continues to be a massive logistical undertaking that involves salting around 7,000 kilometres of main roads in just over three hours, across Northern Ireland, at a cost of approximately £80,000 per night.”