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NI potholes: Minister announces £1m in additional funding

Pothole
Pothole

Infrastructure Minister John O'Dowd has announced £1m of additional funding for NI's roads to address the problem of potholes.

More than 25,000 potholes were reported last year, more than double than the previous year.

There have been almost 120,000 potholes reported to the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) since 2015.

While around 7,000 potholes are fixed a month, Mr O'Dowd says more needs to be done.

The Sinn Féin minister said this extra allocation of funds will go a long way to address the roads with the most significant need.

The DfI had said it was struggling to fix many roads because of a budget shortfall.

Bad weather can increase the number of potholes and, subsequently, the number of reports the department receives.

There have been almost 120,000 complaints and enquiries made to department since 2015 when it launched its online pothole reporting service.

The department previously said the figures "are for the number of pothole/defects reported, so in theory one pothole or defect can be reported several times, particularly in densely populated areas or where there are higher levels of traffic".

On Monday Mr O'Dowd said repairing potholes is "a routine operation for my roads staff who have been working as hard as they can to stay on top of the issue".

"Unfortunately, a number of factors has recently made the situation worse," the minister added.

"For the last decade the department has been operating in a challenging financial position due to British government cuts and austerity which has had an impact on road maintenance activities and the overall condition of the road network."

He said the impact of climate change was an additional factor, with record wet weather having caused severe damage to roads.

"This £1million investment today is the start of addressing the problem," he said. "It's a statement of intent that I will seek out the investment to improve our road networks for motorists and cyclists."