FIGURES released recently underlined the extent of disrepair on local roads, with some carriageways peppered with almost 40 defects.
New data released by the Department of Infrastructure (DFI) shows that in 2017, the worst road in the Strabane area was the Derry Road leading to Patrick Street, which had a total of 38 surface defects.
A close second was the A5 Derry Road to Woodend Road with 35 defects, while the third worst road in the local area was Bradley Way to the Lifford Road, with 25 defects.
Commenting on the concerning roads situation, Ulster Unionist councillor Derek Hussey says potholes “seem to be on a dramatic increase.”
“Over the last few weeks I have been receiving an increasing number of reports of potholes right across the local area,” he said.
“The situation is a point of real concern for users when reported potholes remain unattended to for an inordinate length of time, and indeed deteriorating to the point of becoming dangerous. I myself reported one incident at the end of July last year, and it was towards the end of November before it was fixed.”
The Department of Infrastructure’s recent confirmation of a “limited” budget has placed added strain on the Roads Service, culminating in the depth requirement for pothole repairs on ‘low-traffic rural roads’ being doubled from two to four inches.
Cllr Hussey feels that these issues combined with a recent cold snap means the pressure is mounting.
“It is clear the situation has been exacerbated over the current period of wintery weather,” he said. “Ten days ago I reported a pothole that developed suddenly a few metres from my own home. On Friday past I had to report it again as, with the weather that we have had, it has doubled in size and depth.
“This pothole is right on the line that vehicle tyres would normally follow.
“As with many other potholes this has now become a dangerous situation that can result in tyre and vehicle damage and the potential of a road traffic accident.”
The state of the roads has also led to significant compensation claims against DFI. According to a Department report, in 2016/17 there was a total of 304 road defect related vehicle claims in the Western Division alone. The associated vehicle damage, compensation and legal fees amounted to £78,589.
To claim compensation for a pothole incident an individual must provide photographs showing the damage to the vehicle, receipts or estimates for the repair and insurance details.
When contacted this week in relation to the deteriorating state of the roads, a Department of Infrastructure spokesperson said, “Over the Christmas period temporary repairs were carried out on defects with permanent repairs being followed up as quickly as possible afterwards.”
Top 10 local roads for defects in 2017 (Strabane area)
1 • Derry Road (Patrick Street) – 38 defects.
2 • Woodend Road (Derry Road A5 to Woodend Road) – 35 defects.
3 • Bradley Way (Bradley Way to Lifford Road) – 25 defects.
4 • Derry Road (Derry Road to Woodend Road) – 22 defects; and Melmount Road (Seein Road to Knockroe Road) – 22 defects.
5 • Townsend Street (Cemetery Rd to Kennedy Street) – 21 defects.
6 • Abercorn Square (Castleplace to Patrick Street) – 20 defects.
7 • Melmount Road to Urney Road – 17 defects.
8 • Teveeny Road (Crew Road to Killeen Road) – 14 defects.
9 • Victoria Road (Dunnalong Road to Clampernon Road) – 13 defects.
10 • Fyfin Road (Concess Road to Urbalreagh Road) – 11 defects.