Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council members have been updated by the Department for Infrastructure on road maintenance, improvement works and active travel schemes in 2021/22 and those planned for 2022/23, as funding uncertainty continues.
Speaking as he addressed Council members this evening, Divisional Roads Manager, Mr Mark McPeak said that: “In the absence of an Executive, the Department of Finance (DoF) has provided the Department with contingency planning budgets, for both Resource and Capital funding. With the uncertainty around budgets it is important to monitor all activities within the constrained funding available going forward and difficult decisions may need to be made to re-align activities within funding levels as the year progresses. Despite these budget uncertainties, the Department will continue to develop local transport and safety schemes and maintenance programmes to enhance safety, improve traffic progression and provide measures for pedestrians and cyclists”
Continuing Mr McPeak said: “Minister O’Dowd is keen to progress the development of a number of Strategic Road Improvement Schemes. The statutory orders for the A1 Junctions Phase 2 scheme were made in summer 2021 and work on the development of the business case is nearing completion. Minister O’Dowd has recently taken the decision to commence the preparation of contract documents for the scheme in readiness for moving forward to procurement at a future date and work on the contract documents has commenced and is expected to be complete by August 2023. The Armagh East and Armagh North and West Link schemes are being considered within the Department’s forthcoming Regional Strategic Transportation Network Transport Plan.
“The Department completed extensive resurfacings works across the Council area in 2021/22 including schemes on Killylea Road and Clare Road in Armagh, Annvale Road in Keady, and Mowhan Road in Markethill. The Department has recently awarded a new resurfacing contract for the Armagh area and will be taking forward more resurfacing schemes in 2022/23.
“The Department has continued its commitment to the delivery of active travel schemes across the north and to making walking, wheeling and cycling a safer and more attractive option for people getting around. The upgrading of a shared footway/cycleway around Craigavon Lakes was completed in 2021/22 and the Department is currently preparing plans to deliver upgrades to the paths leading to the Leisure Centre in 2022/23.
“I am pleased to confirm that the second tranche of the new part-time 20mph speed limit at schools are programmed to be operational at six schools by end September 2022 which follows on from the eight schools that benefited from the initiative in 2021.”
Continuing Mr McPeak said: “The Department recognises the importance of street lighting and delivered a full repair service in 2021/22 and is currently continuing in 2022/23 as part of the contingency planning budget. Total expenditure on street lighting during the 2021/22 year amounted to approximately £2m and included both full system replacement schemes and energy efficient LED lantern schemes. Among the areas that received LED lighting was Armagh City centre that not only improves the quality of lighting but is also more energy efficient, given the Department’s commitment to climate action. Further proposed replacement schemes are planned in 2022/23.”