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Rural roads' potholes putting drivers' lives at risk, warns councillor

Thursday, 25 May 2017

ANGER has been expressed after the Department of Infrastructure revealed that a pothole on a rural road must be almost four inches deep before the defect is repaired.

In a statement to the Tyrone Constitution, a spokesperson for the Department said that defects on low traffic rural roads will have to be 100mm (3.9 inches) deep before they can be repaired.

"Despite the challenging budget position the Department continues to inspect all roads and footways on a regular basis to ensure that safety related defects are recorded and prioritised for repair in so far as resources permit," said the spokesperson.

"The priority a defect receives is determined by a number of factors such as defect depth, volume of traffic and defect location in relation to carriageway width.

"With current funding levels only the highest priority defects will be fixed across the entire road network, including unclassified rural roads. This means that defects on low traffic rural roads will have to be greater than 100mm deep before they can be repaired.

"Repairs to lower priority defects will depend on additional funding being made available to the Department through in-year monitoring rounds."

The statement has greatly angered Mid Tyrone councillor, Bert Wilson, who claims residents in rural areas are "having their lives put at risk".

"It's deeply unfair - do they think people in rural areas don't pay rates and taxes? They're clearly discriminating against these residents," he said.

"To be truthful, it's a total disgrace. If a motorist hits a pothole which is three-and-a-half inches deep, they're going to burst their tyre. As well as wrecking vehicles, it could cause a serious accident.

"There's potholes, some which are extremely dangerous, that haven't been repaired in ages and now it seems they won't be fixed. They're putting people's lives at risk.

"The Department are letting rural residents down. I know budgets are tight but they're not listening to the concerns of councillors or constituents."

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