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Roads Service prepared for return of severe weather and pothole repairs ongoing as a priority

6 January, 2011 - by Westminster

Regional Development Minister, Conor Murphy, today provided an update on preparations for the predicted return of wintry weather.

The Minister said: “With a forecast for another cold period with a high probability of snow on Friday, motorists are advised to plan their journeys and check the latest travel advice. Roads Service has replenished its salt stocks over the Christmas and New Year period and there are adequate supplies of salt for the rest of the winter period.

“Roads Service will continue to work around the clock with 300 staff, 120 gritters and 11 snowblowers to focus resources as agreed by the Assembly, in ensuring the main roads which carry 80% of traffic are salted. This is a massive logistical task involving staff working night and day to keep the main network open which is particularly important as schools and work places reopen after the holiday and when more people may be travelling on the busier routes.

In relation to the impact of the recent severe weather on the road network the Minister added: “There is no doubt that the coldest December for over 120 years has had an impact on our road network. The repeated freezing and thawing cycles has caused many carriageways to split and potholes to form and Roads Service is giving priority to the repair of the affected roads.

“Roads Service teams and contractors across the North are working to ensure roads are kept safe. Whilst it will take time to assess the true extent of the damage, Roads Service has been undertaking a series of inspections and condition surveys to ensure the road network is maintained to defined standards and that serious road defects are detected and repaired as quickly as possible.

“In preparation for the winter period and the predicted impact to roads across the region, since October 2010 an additional £8.5 million has been allocated for roads maintenance and this will be used to deal with the effects of the recent cold spell including the purchase of additional salt as well as progressing programmes of work targeting the most severely affected roads."

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