Over 2,500 road and footpath repairs in NI below acceptable standard

More than 2,500 failed road and footpath repairs in Northern Ireland have been condemned.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 9:35 pm
There have been calls for investment in rural roads

DUP MLA Robin Newton said he has discovered there were 2,676 repairs over the last three years which were not deemed to have been of an acceptable standard.

According to the response to an Assembly Question, 895 repairs failed inspection in the 2018/19 financial year, followed by 1,024 in 2019/20 and 757 in 2020/21.

Mr Newton has pressed Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon to take action against the utility companies responsible for the work.

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“I’ve been contacted by a number of constituents regarding the quality of reinstatement work carried out by utility companies,” he said.

“The minister has confirmed the huge extent of this problem with a total of 2,676 reinstatements falling below the required standards over the last three years.

“The reinstatements failed to meet the inspections standard as defined by the Northern Ireland Road Authority and Utilities Committee (NIRAUC) Code of Practice for Inspections.

“Whilst utility companies are required to carry out any follow-up work required it is unacceptable that this problem continues to reoccur.

“The minister should look at all options open to her, including increasing the number of chargeable inspections that are carried out so utility companies see a financial impact from such unacceptable work.”

Responding, a spokesperson for the department said on average utility companies carry out between 45,000 and 50,000 street works each year.

“When carrying out this work companies must notify the Department for Infrastructure and comply with The Street Works (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 and associated Codes of Practice,” they said.

“The legislation permits utilities to install and maintain apparatus in the footways, while meeting agreed standards. Even when work is carried out to a high standard the serviceable life of any footway or road is reduced by utility excavations and reinstatements.

“Across the various utilities, there are many sites operating on a daily basis.

“While the department undertakes sample inspections of ongoing/completed work with utilities being required to undertake remedial works if necessary, the department does not have the resources available to inspect all works on an ongoing basis. All utility works are subject to a maintenance period with any defects identified during the maintenance period being referred to utility company for their attention and repair.”

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