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Report on Cavan roads 'misleading’ but low figures remain

Wednesday, 27th January, 2016 2:42pm

Story by Paul Neilan
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Report on Cavan roads 'misleading’ but low figures remain
Report on Cavan roads 'misleading’ but low figures remain

Article claimed 0.45% of road defects repaired

Paul Neilan

The Department of Transport has hit back over a newspaper report that said only 0.45% of defects on the county’s major roads had been fixed.
On Thursday (January 21), a national newspaper reported that of the 219 defects found on the national roads in the county that only one case had been repaired, according to the latest figures in a departmental report called 'Value for Money and Policy Review’.
The paper printed the figures from the department, which tasks the TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland, formerly the NRA) with supplying money for the repairs of potholes, verge cutting, lighting, drainage, bridge and winter maintenance and similar defects.
The percentage of defects repaired in the county for 2014 was reported as a paltry 0.45% with 10 local authorities reportedly having zero repairs carried out.

CoCo's figures
A spokesperson for Cavan County Council said that the report was incorrect:
“Local authorities are requested by TII to assess the national network in their county for defects such as pavement cracking, surface deformation, drainage, road marking and the existence of non-native invasive plant species. This only involves low value works and does not include pavement overlays, relining or signing contracts, safety schemes, realignments or bypasses.
“In 2014 the Roads Section of Cavan County Council identified 139 defects on the National Road network. For each defect a solution was proposed, cost of repair estimated and funding sought from TII for the repair.
“The TII only funded the repair of 26 of the 139 defects reported and works were completed on all 26.
“In 2015 the Roads Section of Cavan County Council identified 151 defects. The TII funded the repair of 25 of the 151 defects reported and works were completed on all 25.
“The aforementioned repair works are additional to the routine maintenance works that is ongoing on the national network throughout the year,” the spokesperson said.
The 2014 percentage of defects repaired is, according to the council, 18.7% while the 2015 repairs were actually at 16.5% - both still alarming figures.

'Misleading'
The department also said the report was incorrect and says it has “already contacted the newspaper and reporter in relation to the this. In Annex One of the report the line above the Table from which the journalist sourced his information states the data listed is “not representative of road conditions or output at LA level but is indicative of the use of the new Geo app which is being rolled out and the data that it generates”.
The department wrote to the newspaper seeking clarification and in its letter outlined:
“The article stated that 'the study finds that fewer than one in four road defects identified on our most heavily-trafficked routes are not being remedied, with 10 Local Authorities failing to fix any of the almost 1,500 identified in 2014’. The study made no such finding.”

TII, formerly the National Roads Authority, is responsible for maintenance of our national roads and provides funding to local authorities to carry out works on its behalf. A spokesman said that among the reasons why defects were not repaired was a lack of finances.

An NRA spokesperson told the paper: "A lot of it has to do with the limitations on funding in a majority of these issues," he said. Staff cuts in local authorities also impacted on their ability to deliver maintenance programmes across the national and non-national road network.

He said that concerns in relation to insufficient data being available were being addressed, particularly around bridge management systems.

"It is anticipated that as local authorities increasingly adopt new information technology …this will assist them in achieving improvements in maintenance delivery, albeit within the significant funding and staff resource constraints that they are obliged to work."

The paper was contacted by The Anglo-Celt for a comment but received no reply.

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