Sunday, 31 January 2010

Poor State of Roads

I ate out last night, at an Indian restaurant in the Odyssey Pavilion in Belfast. Peter, an old school chum whose 50th birthday was imminent, met me in the foyer. We meet for a meal perhaps three times a year.

The pavilion itself seemed fairly quiet, although there was something "big" on in the Arena, adjacent to the Pavilion. We were shown to a table immediately. I had my usual, unadventurous onion bhajis, chicken Tikka Masala, pilau rice; and we shared Peshwari nan bread.

One topic which Peter brought up in the conversation was the state of Northern Ireland's roads. They are, of course, utterly deplorable - and that is putting it mildly. We used to joke disparagingly about the state of the Irish Republic's roads, before they joined the European Union. Now, the opposite is the case, one has to admit.

The "Roads Service" - as they call themselves - no: I call them the roads disservice. The roads disservice management is totally culpable for a culture of neglect over several decades; and it is simply not good enough for them to blame the NI Office ministers or anyone else. The roads disservice management remain culturally incapable of getting to grips with the disgraceful state of our roads.

The roads disservice has acquiesced in "turning a blind eye" to the damage done to our roads by utility companies, which do not reinstate any trenches, man-hole covers or anything in a proper fashion. Consequently, we have thousands of sunken trenches, poor quality workmanship and pot-holes which the roads disservice is ultimately responsible for. It is their responsibility to see that a satisfactory job is done; that their inspectors return after, say, six months or, if necessary, eighteen months to ensure that the repairs are good.

I shall name a mere two roads in Belfast or, at least, sections of them: Holywood Road and Ravenhill Road. The Holywood Road has some nasty sunken trenches causing uneven surfaces close to St Mark's Church and the junction of Palmerston Road. The roads disservice always claim that these roads are inspected regularly, which is spurious. The damage has been there for months and nothing has been done about it.

The Roads Service has a responsibility to bring utility companies to account. It is not good enough for the roads disservice to shift the responsibility to whichever company originally dug up a road. The roads disservice must surely have powers to enforce utility companies to repair damage incurred and, if necessary, re-surface a whole section of carriageway.


The Fat Builder said...

Bring back the railways, I say, and get rid of heavy haulage lorries

Timothy Belmont said...

In Northern Ireland we have the bare bones of a once-great railway network, when there were lines to most towns and villages in the Province.

I think it's a shame and it was short-sighted to close down lines 60 years ago.

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