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Calls for main roads to schools, hospitals and care homes to be gritted rejected

'Not practicable or affordable' to salt all roads

Calls for all main roads leading to schools, hospitals and care homes locally to be gritted during freezing conditions have been turned down.

And again budgetary restrictions have been blamed.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council had written to the Department for Infrastructure before Christmas expressing public safety fears as a result of winter weather and called for more gritting to be carried out.

But the Divisional Roads Manager has now replied and said this simply is not possible.

The council had asked for the main roads to service locations such as schools, hospitals and care homes to be included in the main gritting schedule.

There was also a request for salt boxes and grit piles to be replenished in rural areas during periods of extreme cold weather.

In a letter to the council’s chief executive Roger Wilson, the position was made clear.

It was pointed out that winter gritting policy, which had been accepted by the Northern Ireland Assembly, was to target the “limited resources on the busier routes across the network”.

“As you will appreciate, there are many roads in Northern Ireland and it is simply not practicable or affordable to salt them all, given the many other demands placed on the Department,” wrote Divisional Roads Manager Simon Richardson.

“Unfortunately it is not possible within the finite resources available to the Department to include as part of the main gritting schedule all the main roads leading to schools, hospitals and care homes.

“However, within the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area the Department does salt the roads leading to the area hospital and provides grit boxes/piles on roads leading to other such facilities which are not located on the schedule of salted roads.

“I can assure you that the Department will endeavour to continue salting the roads on the salting network and will replenish grit boxes/piles on other roads across the council area in order that access is facilitated during periods of wintry weather.

“In addition, where access difficulties are experienced in periods of prolonger wintry weather, secondary salting of roads will be undertaken as necessary.”

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