Criticism of resurfacing spend rejected

Pacemaker Press 26/5/2015' Sinn Fein John O'Dowd speaks to the media as  Northern Ireland assembly members debate the final stage of the controversial welfare reform bill at Stormont.'Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 26/5/2015' Sinn Fein John O'Dowd speaks to the media as Northern Ireland assembly members debate the final stage of the controversial welfare reform bill at Stormont.'Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

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Transport NI has rejected a suggestion that £37.000 spent on reccently resurfacing the B3 Gilford to Scarva Road could have been better spent on more pressing needs.

Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd questioned the expenditure on a road that was completely refurbished, he said, in recent years, and remained in very good condition, this while elsewhere potholes went unfilled, road markings had disappeared and grass verges were left to grow wild.

“On a daily basis we are being told that the Roads Service has no money and cannot carry out basic repair and maintenance to the road network,” he said.

However, a DRD spokesperson said Transport NI (formerly Roads Service) had, in the past number of years, resurfaced many stretches of road, including the B3 Gilford-to-Scarva, using bitumen macadam.

“In order to protect the relatively expensive surface material, and to increase its longevity,” she said, “it is necessary to seal the surface with a layer of bitumen and chippings.

“The bitumen acts as a sealer to prevent the ingress of water and moisture and the chippings provide skid resistance to vehicles.

“This is a well established process which is used worldwide to increase the longevity of road surfaces, particularly in the UK and Ireland, where the climate is wetter.”

She said too the £37,000 came from capital funding, different to resource funding which was used for day-to-day maintenance such as grass cutting, pothole repairs and gully emptying.

“The Minister has already stated the department is facing a £60 million resource budget pressure in 2015/16,” she added.