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Road conditions forcing motorists ‘to drive in the ditch’

June 1, 2015

The condition of some roads in areas of south Armagh and Newry are so bad that motorists are being forced to cross to the wrong side or drive in the ditch to avoid damaging their vehicle, Sinn Fein MLA Megan Fearon has claimed.

Following complaints from constituents, Ms Fearon and her party colleague, Mickey Brady MP, recent met with Roads Minister Danny Kennedy to discuss the issue and examine the maintenance of routes across the district.

Ms Fearon claims it was later revealed that Transport NI staff are being limited to £50 worth of tar a day to be used on R1 or main roads, leaving huge swathes of the district without any maintenance.  She said the state of the roads was having a huge knock on effect on communities.

“Some of the roads have gotten so bad that people are forced to drive in the ditch or on the wrong side to avoid them.  As well as putting lives at risk, driving on the roads has gotten so treacherous that businesses are suffering, with people avoiding using roads they are on unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

During Tuesday’s meeting Ms Fearon presented the Minister with a list of the 32 worst affected roads across the district – two in Newry, 12 in Armagh and 18 routes across south Armagh.

“I told the Minister that while there were many more roads across the district that needed attention, these in particular were putting lives at risk and that as time went on they only got worse and worse,” she said.

“He was not particularly positive, saying that he was dealing with a reduced budget, but we pointed out that, as Minister, it was his responsibility to use his budget wisely.  He said he would look at the areas affected and get back to us with an update,” she revealed, adding that the issue is crucial issue, particularly in south Armagh.

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