Newcastle Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke has voiced his concern over the possible risk of 900 job losses in the roads maintenance section and deterioration in many of the main roads due to a massive cut in the roads maintenance budget.
Councillor Patrick Clarke stated: “In February Minister Danny Kennedy secured over £500 million from the Executive for major road infrastructure projects across the North. However he has completely decimated the roads maintenance budget by over 60%.
“Major financial investments in the A5, A2, and A8 routes means the roads maintenance budget over the coming year has been drastically reduced.
“Already a number of main road resurfacing contractors who hold contracts with DRD Roads Service have made plans for staff lay-offs.
“Money previously earmarked for roads maintenance such as resurfacing and potholes have been transferred into new major road infrastructure projects.
“Given that a Roads Service report showed a minimum of £112 million needed to be spent annually to maintain the roads network, Minister Danny Kennedy has now left under £50 million for roads maintenance across the North.
“The massive financial reduction in the regional roads maintenance budget will signal not only widespread job losses but deterioration in many of the main roads across Down and every other Council area.
“I have now written to the Regional Development Minister about the major job losses which will result in the reduction in the roads maintenance budget.”