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Agency admits it hasn’t the funds to fix our roads

The Department of Infrastructure has warned its budget for the year ahead is so tight it will not be able to carry out road maintenance, which it admitted is already underfunded, to the same level as last year.
Divisional roads manager David McKinley made the shockingly frank statement as he gave an update on local roads projects to Fermanagh and Omagh councillors.
He said the Department faced “significant” budget challenges and its allocation “falls well short of meeting our needs.”
“The maintenance of the road network will be problematic, given its continuing deterioration and increases in raw material costs,” he said.
“Maintaining current levels of routine road maintenance, which were dependent on in-year funding in 2018-19, will be unlikely.”
Mr McKinley admitted independent reports had shown funding for roads maintenance had been “below the level required for some time” and said the Department had set up a ‘Roads Recovery Fund’ for roads particularly impacted by underfunding.
“While this will enable the Department to plan to deliver a reasonable programme of resurfacing schemes in the Fermanagh and Omagh Council area, funding for other programmes, such as local transport and safety measures and street lighting column replacement, will not be at the same level,” he said.
News even less work will be carried out on our roads in the coming year has been described as “shocking” and “outrageous” locally.
Chairman of the Aughakillymaude Community Association Brian McManus has been outspoken on road issues in the area in the past, such as at Fatt’s Cross and at Derryhowlaght Hill at Macken.
He said while improvement work had been carried out, more had to be done to get the whole A09 up to standard.
“The A509 is the main arterial route from Dublin and Donegal,” he said “It’s outrageous to think nothing is going to happen until God knows when. You go south of the border, the roads are streets ahead of us.”
Mr McManus added: “There are thousands of cars using that route every day. I don’t know what way the budgets are spread but where is our road tax going? Is it being used somewhere else?”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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