Drivers across Fermanagh are cracking up yet again over damage caused to their cars by potholes on the county’s roads.
Years of wear and tear on our roads caused by severe flooding, winter storms and heavily loaded articulated lorries have taken their toll.
The recent cold snap has further added to the bumpy ride experienced by Fermanagh drivers on a daily basis on our already pothole peppered roads.
The number of vehicle damage claims lodged with the Department of Infrastructure (DfI) in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) area was 12,500 during 2016/17.
Sinn Fein Cllr Sheamus Greene says the roads around Coonian/Brookeborough and the Knocks areas are in the worst condition he has seen in his life time.
“The Grogey, Coonian, Mullaghfad, Knocks and the Coleshill roads to name but a few are all in a shocking state with potholes. It is a false economy not to fix these potholes because in the long run it will cost more to fix them.
“I recently sent a link to the Department for Infrastructure about a pilot project in England where a local community had taken the pothole problem head on. I requested that a pilot project be set up on the same lines as the one in Devon to see if on a temporary basis a local community could help to alleviate the pothole academic. They have replied that they would look into it.”
Independent Cllr Bernice Swift says most roads in the west of the county are particularly deplorable: “I could safely say there is no more than one mile stretch of road in all of Erne West that is totally pothole-free. Transport NI needs strategic and specific investment to address potholes alone.
“Our rural ratepayers should not have to suffer these appalling conditions including road subsistence just because they don’t live on A class roads. It’s not good enough. Potholes filled with water are particularly dangerous as hitting them at any speed, drivers are sure to get a bent rim.”
UUP Cllr Diana Armstrong says potholes continue to grow larger and present greater risk of damage to road users and their vehicles.
“Some patching has been carried out in the Erne North area and I welcome that, but recent weather has exacerbated the damage on the roads and more repairs are needed urgently. Given the amount of road network in Fermanagh it is obvious that the local road structure is not receiving a reasonable level of funding repairs.”
DfI has confirmed its limited maintenance budget but says public safety remains a key priority.
“Despite a challenging budgetary situation, the department has this year delivered a significant programme of resurfacing and surface dressing and continues to carry out a programme of routine maintenance, including pothole repairs, to meet all essential public safety requirements,” a spokesman said.
The hotspots for defects:
DfI released figures highlighting surface defects were recorded on local stretches of road last year. Locally, areas worst affected include 60 defects on the Sligo Road, 70 on the Lough Shore Road, 75 on Derrylin Road, 51 on Marble Arch Road, 43 on Ashwoods Road in Enniskillen, 39 on Teemore Road, 27 on the Nutfield and 25 on Moorlough Roads in Lisnaskea and 23 in the Brookeborough and Maguiresbridge area. The Wattlebridge and Dernawilt roads both had 21 defects, 17 were found the on Boho Road, 15 on Brollagh Road, 19 on Boa Island Road and seven were recorded on the Swalinbar route.