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Plans are in place to continue to deal with cold spell

6 January, 2010

Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy today met with officials from both Roads Service and NIW to review the response to date and ensure resources are in place to deal with the predicted continued cold conditions.

The Minister said: “The recent period has witnessed the coldest prolonged spell for almost 30 years and is continuing to break records. Daytime temperatures have struggled to get above freezing and temperatures as low as minus 10 degrees have been experienced.

“Roads Service has been working tirelessly night and day to ensure the main network on which 80% of traffic travels remains open. 288 personnel are on standby every night to salt main roads across the North. Already almost 50,000 tonnes of salt have been used, which is almost equivalent to the annual average and is a clear indication of the scale of the task.

“Roads Service were well prepared and as well as ensuring stock piles were full at the start of the year, they ordered more before this recent cold spell and are taking delivery of an extra 1000 tonnes a day. Road safety is a priority and resources will continue to be made available to continue to deal with this prolonged cold spell. Even with this additional resource Roads Service will continue to closely monitor the weather conditions and any impact this may continue to have on services.

“I would like to personally pay tribute to the teams of workers on the ground, who have been working around the clock to keep the main road networks open and replenishing salt piles and grit boxes for those areas not on the salted network.

“NIW have dealt with almost 14,000 calls, tankered 13 million litres of water and repaired burst mains to ensure that supplies could be reconnected.

“I would also like to appeal to motorists to heed the continuing extreme weather conditions. Even with the most careful and thorough planning and use of state-of-the-art technology, this is a battle against nature and in exceptional winter conditions there is bound to be some disruption. Drive with care even if roads have been salted, be prepared for road conditions changing over short distances and take care when overtaking gritters.”

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