Serious underinvestment in roads…

The same kind of interval speed check cameras (subs needed) that have been operating on the Gretna – Stranraer stretch of road in Scotland is to be used on the Newry – Belfast road in order to cut speed and thus the high rate of road deaths on the A1 dual carriageway. Conor Murphy however complains that road budgets have been cut under direct rule ministers and that it is under investment in the actual roads themselves that accounts for fatalities. Another substantial cost of the local absence of devolution?

Adds: We’ve just received the following from Billy Bell, UUP MLA for Lagan Valley:Billy Bell said today that the latest fatality of the A1 central reservation reinforced once again the total inadequacy of the A1 as a road and its inherent, inbuilt dangerous nature.

“The A1 has just had too many fatalities and this latest death is another sad name added to this sorry litany of human suffering. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the bereaved family. The best memorial we could erect to the numerous people who have died on that dreadful road is to radically re-examine the whole purpose and design of that highway of death.”

“Dual carriageways are no substitute for proper motorways. They mix traffic that just should not be mixed. The central reservation of the A1 is a death-trap. Slow moving local traffic and fast moving trunk traffic should not be mixed together. It is a cocktail of death,” said the MLA.

“When you compare this decision to build the Irish Republic’s new 52-mile motorway from Dundalk to Dublin, with the decision that the A1 north of the border will only be upgraded only to dual carriageway, it speaks volumes about the lack of proper strategic management of the roads service in Northern Ireland. There appears to be a lack of vision.”

“Throughout Europe there is a frenzy of road building, especially in the new emerging states of eastern Europe. They have enough sense to appreciate the economic value of motorways. I have just returned from Slovenia where an impressive system of new roads are being built incorporating tunnels through mountain passes and incredible feats of engineering.”

“Northern Ireland is suffering because during the thirty year direct rule period the principle of subsidiarity starved the Province of much European money which would otherwise have built a modern road infrastructure. We must ensure that in any political settlement, any money lost through the practice of subsidiarity is returned to Northern Ireland. Any political settlement must have an infrastructural aspect and surely a motorway from Lisburn – Sprucefield to the border must be at the head of the list.”

“This decision to have no more motorways will do irreparable damage to the efforts by DETI, INI and others to attract inward investment. It will really be a major turn – off to foreign investors. A motorway from Lisburn – Sprucefield to the border must be built to link to the Republic’s new M1 so that the prosperity of the Dublin economic coastal corridor can be exported North. Town after town has boomed with the advance of the motorway to the north – first Drogheda, then Dundalk. If the motorway were extended that list could also include Newry, Banbridge, Craigavon, Libsurn and Belfast.”

“The sooner the Assembly is back and a local Minister is in charge of the strategic planning of the major strategic road systems here, the sooner we will get some common sense back into this situation. This decision by DRD to stop all motorway building until after 2015 is the sort of short sighted behaviour you get when a civil service is running out of control – as it is here. The Direct Rule Ministers have no grip on this situation. We need to guarantee the Province’s economic future with strategically located motorways, with a new motorway from the border to Lisburn an absolute priority,”

,

  • Rebecca Black

    If they are the big yellow speed cameras that hang over the road, they are already in use on the road from Belfast to Newry on the stretch just before you come into Newry. They are much more intimidating than the little signs warning of speed cameras. From memory I think there are about 3-4 of them at half a mile intervals.

    They are effective but Murphy does have a point about the quality of that road surface and thats not even mentioning the road works around the Banbridge section of that road that have been going on for two years and still don’t seem to have made much progress.

  • dantheman

    Things up here do take a long time. The ongoing works at Beech Hill-Loughbrickland are testimony to that. Down south the build the 40km M4 motorway in less that 2 years, and in Spain they are a lot quicker still.

    RB,

    They are building a grade seperated junction but it is being privately funded by the people who are building the nearby shopping centre. Perhaps that is why it is even slower than usual.

  • Urquhart

    “…it is under investment in the actual roads themselves that accounts for fatalities. Another substantial cost of the local absence of devolution?”

    Perhaps, or another substantial cost of the failed campaign by Conor Murphy and his comrades?

  • Nevin

    Does the nature of EU funding also play a part? Presumably there has been more funding for capital projects than for maintenance and London and Dublin have had differing views on the application of EU funds.

    [i]While there is a tendency to blame road conditions for accidents the reality is that human error is responsible for 95% of fatalities.[/i] .. John Dallat

  • Jo

    Speed on the road, lack of care by drivers, lack of sobriety in drivers, people turning right across carriageways – all major causes of deaths on the road and the first 3 preventable by a higher police presence which of course was something that Conor et al had a problem with for some time…

  • dantheman

    ““This decision to have no more motorways will do irreparable damage to the efforts by DETI, INI and others to attract inward investment. It will really be a major turn – off to foreign investors. A motorway from Lisburn – Sprucefield to the border must be built to link to the Republic’s new M1 so that the prosperity of the Dublin economic coastal corridor can be exported North. Town after town has boomed with the advance of the motorway to the north – first Drogheda, then Dundalk. If the motorway were extended that list could also include Newry, Banbridge, Craigavon, Lisburn and Belfast.”

    Hmm, Newry is already benefitting and maybe the shopping capital of Ireland, carpet burners aside. Where the UPP seriously interested in attracting customers from the south, they would probably do something about the amount of disgusting Union Jacks and King Billy banners which still infest this lovely part of Ireland, and its nearly a month now since the orangeman’s annual day out.

  • Diarmaid Elder

    I noticed that noone mentioned a motorway connecting with Derry. Surely any government minister from Northern Ireland should think about internal before external. The A1 will be dual carriageway by 2010. Less than half of the A6 (the road between the 2 largest cities” is dual carriageway. The rest is all single lane roads. Far more dangerous than dual carraigeways!