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Roads

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 13 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much the Department for Regional Development spent on structural maintenance for the road network in counties (a) Tyrone, (b) Derry and (c) Fermanagh in each of the last five years; and how much the Department has budgeted for structural maintenance in (i) the current year and (ii) the next two years in these counties. (76299)

The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the hon. Gentleman in response to this question.

Letter from Dr. Malcolm McKibbin, dated 13 June 2006:

You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question about how much the Department for Regional Development spent on structural maintenance for the road network in counties (a) Tyrone, (b) Deny and (c) Fermanagh in each of the past five years; and how much the Department has budgeted for structural maintenance in (i) the current year and (ii) the next two years in these counties. I have been asked to reply as this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service.

Firstly I should advise that whilst Roads Service does not maintain details of expenditure on a county basis, such information is available on a district council basis. The table below details Roads Service’s expenditure, for the five-year period 2000/01 to 2004/05, on structural maintenance for the nine district councils whose boundaries straddle Counties Tyrone, Londonderry and Fermanagh. Expenditure details for 2005/06 year are not yet available.

Roads Service expenditure on structural maintenance by council area

£ million

District council

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

Omagh

2.5

3.6

4.0

4.9

4.0

Strabane

2.3

2.7

2.9

3.4

3.9

Cookstown

1.3

1.5

1.8

2.5

2.2

Dungannon

2.7

3.1

3.5

5.4

4.0

Derry

2.1

2.2

2.4

3.2

2.7

Magherafelt

1.2

1.5

1.9

2.7

2.2

Coleraine

1.7

2.1

2.3

3.4

2.4

Limavady

1.0

1.2

1.6

2.6

2.1

Fermanagh

2.9

3.1

4.3

5.5

4.6

In providing this information, I should explain that Roads Service does not simply apportion its total structural maintenance expenditure equally across district council areas. Resources available for each maintenance activity (e.g. resurfacing, patching, gully emptying, grass cutting etc) are apportioned to district council areas using appropriate indicators of need. This ensures, so far as possible, an equitable distribution of funds across the country.

With regard to structural maintenance expenditure in the current year and the next two years, I can advise that Roads Service’s structural maintenance budgets are not allocated at the outset of the financial year on a district council basis. Therefore, it is not possible to give an initial budget allocation for 2006/07 for structural maintenance in each district council area as requested. However, expenditure this year, coupled with the Revised Budget allocations, suggests that approximately £170m will be invested in roads' structural maintenance across Northern Ireland in the three years to 2007/08.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Department for Regional Development Roads Service will outline the options for the route of the proposed dual carriageway between Londonderry and Dungiven. (76367)

The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the hon. Gentleman in response to this question.

Letter from Dr. Malcolm McKibbin, dated 13 June 2006:

You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding when the Department for Regional Development Roads Service will outline the options for the route of the proposed dual carriageway between Londonderry and Dungiven.

As this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.

When the Secretary of State announced that this £250m (estimated cost) scheme to provide a dual carriageway between Londonderry and Dungiven had been added to the Forward Planning Schedule, he indicated that it was expected to be completed in the latter part of the 10 year period to 2015.

A study is underway to identify the preferred corridor for the route. This involves preliminary studies of environmental, land form and traffic modelling, particularly at the Londonderry end of the route. It is well advanced and will report later this summer. Although it is not normal practice to make announcements at this stage in a scheme development, it is anticipated that a public exhibition and consultation will be undertaken as the next step in the more detailed development of the Londonderry to Dungiven scheme.

The next stage will be the development and assessment of possible road line options within the corridor identified in the current study. This will take several years and it is not anticipated that any announcement of a preferred line for the Londonderry to Dungiven dual carriageway will issue for some time.

It is worth reminding ourselves that this 30km scheme is the largest undertaken by Roads Service and will undoubtedly take several years in development.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the change was in the average number of vehicles using the Limavady bypass between its opening and the most recent date for which figures are available. (76319)

The chief executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the hon. Gentleman in response to this question.

Letter from Dr. Malcolm McKibbin, dated 13 June 2006:

You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding the change in the average number of vehicles using the Limavady Bypass between its opening and the most recent date for which figures are available.

I have been asked to reply as these issues fall within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service.

As you know, Roads Service collects traffic volume data by means of 270 automatic census points strategically located throughout the Northern Ireland road network. Unfortunately none of these census points are located on the Limavady Bypass, and therefore we are unable to provide the information requested.

However the location of our census points throughout Northern Ireland is currently under review, and it is intended to install a new counter on the Limavady Bypass as part of this review.

I am sorry I cannot be more helpful on this occasion.