Roads Service has been lambasted after drivers woke up to treacherous road conditions in Lurgan and Craigavon on Monday morning.
The Department of Regional Development admitted that it had not started gritting roads in the area until 7am following an unexpected dip in temperature.
However Upper Bann MLA Stephen Moutray said the failure to grit “put people’s lives at risk”.
There were a number of collisions at roundabouts in the Craigavon area on Monday morning. Several cars and a motorbike were involved in an accident at a roundabout on Lake Road shortly before 7.30am.
There were reports of an accident on the Clare Road outside Waringstown shortly after 8.30am when a silver 4x4 appeared to have hit a pole. The vehicle appeared to be heavily damaged on the passenger side but there did not appear to be anyone injured.
Mr Moutray said he had left Lurgan soon after 6:30am and the roads were treacherous. “It was evident that Road Service had been ‘caught out’.
“There was black ice on many of the main roads including the M1. I believe we need answers as to why they failed to act and when they did what efforts and resources were deployed and at what time to grit the main road routes.
“I have submitted several questions to the Minister for Regional Development Danny Kennedy because I believe the people of Northern Ireland were let down this morning. There were numerous accidents reported and someone could well have lost their life.”
A Roads Service spokesperson said: “The weather forecast on Sunday evening showed that in Southern Division, which takes in the areas around Craigavon, the rain would clear and although air temperatures would fall, road temperatures would generally remain above freezing throughout the night. This information was supported with reports from Roads Service scouts who worked through Sunday night to check real time actual road temperatures.
“At approx 3am on Monday scouts reported no evidence of frost and temperatures were well above freezing. An un-forecast dip in temperatures occurred at around 5-6am which caused road temperatures to fall below freezing, resulting in the formation of frost and ice on some roads. This was compounded by isolated showers which occurred across the area. On becoming aware of the change in road conditions Roads Service carried out gritting operations in Southern Division from 07:00am onwards, on the parts of the salted network which had been affected.”