A20

Northern Ireland written question – answered on 16th October 2006.

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Photo of Iris Robinson Iris Robinson DUP, Strangford

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

(1) how much was spent on the A20 road between Portaferry and Newtownards in each of the last 10 financial years;

(2) what the most recent estimate is of the total number of vehicles using the A20 road daily between Greyabbey and Portaferry; and what the figures were (a) five and (b) 10 years ago;

(3) what the most recent estimate is of the total number of vehicles using the A20 road daily between Greyabbey and Newtownards; and what the figures were (a) five, (b) 10 and (c) 20 years ago.

Photo of David Cairns David Cairns Parliamentary Under-Secretary (also Scotland Office), Scotland Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (also Scotland Office), Northern Ireland Office

The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has written to the hon. Lady in response to this question.

Letter from Dr. Malcolm McKibbin, dated 16 October 2006:

You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland three parliamentary Questions:

(i) How much was spent on the A20 road between Portaferry and Newtownards in each of the last 10 financial years;

(ii) What the most recent estimate is of the total number of vehicles using the A20 road daily between Greyabbey and Portaferry; and what the figures were for (a) five and (b) 10 years ago; and

(iii) What the most recent estimate is of the total number of vehicles using the A20 road daily between Greyabbey and Newtownards; and what the figures were (a) five, (b) 10 and (c) 20 years ago.

I have been asked to reply as the issues raised fall within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service.

The following table shows the total expenditure by Roads Service on road improvement schemes on the A20 road for the past nine years. I should explain that while nine year's data are readily available, information prior to this period can be obtained only at a disproportionate cost to the Department.

Expenditure (£000)
2005-06 350.0
2004-05 197.0
2003-04 152.0
2002-03 72.1
2001-02 327.5
2000-01 67.7
1999-2000 114.1
1998-99 35.3
1997-98 31.4

You will note that in the past five years, almost £1 million has been spent on this road resulting in almost six miles of the A20 being resurfaced or surface dressed. This represents approximately 18 per cent. of the entire budget for the Ards area. This funding has also promoted a variety of other schemes including, carriageway reconstruction, sidelining, drainage, coastal protection, guard rail and traffic calming. I can assure you that the A20 road will continue to be considered for further improvement schemes in the future.

With regard to your two questions on vehicle numbers using the A20, I should explain that Roads Service collects traffic volume data by means of 270 automatic census points strategically located throughout the Northern Ireland road network. Traffic flow at each site is recorded for one week in each quarter during the year and an annual average calculated. The results are published in Roads Service's Annual Traffic and Travel Information Report, which presents the traffic volumes in a variety of formats for each site.

Unfortunately there is no permanent census point between Greyabbey and Portaferry, and therefore we are unable to provide traffic flow details for this section of the A20 road.

However, there is a permanent traffic census point on the A20 between Greyabbey and Newtownards and the average daily number of vehicles using this road is shown in the following table.

A20 to Newtownards A20 to Portaferry Average daily traffic flow
2005(1) 6,290 5,910 12,200
2001 4,890 4,660 9,550
1996 3,010 2,970 5,980
1987(2) 3,480 3,410 6,890
(1) 2005 is the latest year for which records are available.

(2) Records for 1986 (20 years ago) are not available. The first year for which records are available is 1987.

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