Rural Roads Initiative

Infrastructure – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 14th November 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Ian Milne Ian Milne Sinn Féin 2:30 pm, 14th November 2016

T4. Mr Milne asked the Minister for Infrastructure for an update on the rural roads initiative. (AQT 459/16-21)

Photo of Christopher Hazzard Christopher Hazzard Sinn Féin

As the Member is aware, following the additional capital funding prioritised by the Executive for structural maintenance as part of June monitoring, I listened to concerns about the deterioration in rural roads and earmarked £10 million for the resurfacing of rural roads across the North. The rural roads initiative is a significant investment and is helping to address the rural roads in the worst condition, thereby helping to reduce a backlog of rural road resurfacing and repairs. The improvements target many short lengths of rural road in particularly poor condition, and it is estimated that around 1,000 locations on the rural road network will be improved. Transport NI divisions have finalised their programmes, with work well under way in most areas. As of the end of October, approximately 400 schemes had been completed across all divisions.

Photo of Ian Milne Ian Milne Sinn Féin

Mo bhuíochas fosta leis an Aire. Thank you, Minister. Does the Minister agree that maintaining rural roads is as important as maintaining the main network?

Photo of Christopher Hazzard Christopher Hazzard Sinn Féin

Absolutely. Maintaining the structural integrity of the entire road network is essential for social and economic well-being across the North and is a high priority for my Department. In this difficult financial period, it is, of course, necessary to prioritise resources, but for too long rural communities have dropped down the priority list. The rural roads initiative goes some way to addressing that imbalance and dealing with the maintenance backlogs that have developed over recent times. Rural constituencies across the North will soon see the benefits. The initiative will not, of course, solve all the problems on our roads, but it is a very positive measure for addressing a clear need in our rural communities.