Fermanagh and Omagh Council members have been updated by the Acting Divisional Roads Manager, Harry Gallagher, on works undertaken during the year 2021/2022 and programme of schemes being undertaken for the remainder of the financial year and onwards in the Fermanagh and Omagh Council area.
Speaking as he addressed council members this evening Mr Gallagher said:
"This year we have continued to deliver our programmes whilst dealing with the impacts of Covid-19 on our organisation and contractors. "Major resurfacing schemes have been completed on the A32 at Drumclay, Irvinestown, Enniskillen Road at Mossfield, A509 Derrylin Road at Bellanaleck and B52 Lattone Road, Belcoo."
Mr Gallagher also highlighted Minister Mallon's commitment to investing in improved safety measures outside schools and informed the Council of nine locations across the Fermanagh and Omagh Council area where 20 mph speed limits have already been installed with plans for a further tranche of eight sites in the council area this financial year.
Continuing, Mr Gallagher added:
"The Department is at the forefront of delivering the Minister's ambition and will increasingly be taking opportunities to increase the allocation of road space for walking, wheeling, cycling and public transport on our urban streets This recognises the role that these streets have as community places; and their ability to help us achieve our new outcomes. Councilliors will therefore, see an increasing level of investment being targeted at delivering a higher standard of walking and cycling infrastructure and a dedicated team has been set up in the Division to take this forward."
Mr Gallagher, updated members on Strategic Road Improvement projects within the Division, adding:
"Alongside our active travel initiatives, the Division continues to progress strategic road improvements including the A5 dualling flagship project where it is hoped that the public inquiry will be reconvened during 2022 and the statutory processes brought to a satisfactory conclusion thereafter. We will also commence advance works on the Enniskillen bypass this year following the making of the Statutory Orders earlier this year."
Mr Gallagher advised that notable projects completed so far this year include an upgrade of the sections of the existing footways to cycleway on the Old Mountfield Road and Dublin Road in Omagh, new footways at Clones Road Newtownbutler, and Lisnagole Road, Lisnaskea, new controlled crossings at Brownhill Link Road Irvinestown and Kevlin Avenue, Omagh, street lighting renewal schemes at Main Street in Fintona and Hillcrest Drive and Dunena Avenue, Irvinestown. Work expected to be completed shortly includes Bracky Bridge replacement, Drumnakilly and the final phase of carriageway realignment at the A509 Derrylin Road at Derryhowlaght.
Continuing, Mr Gallagher noted:
"Divisional allocations have now been confirmed and I am pleased to note that on the Capital side these are similar to last year, with funds being made available for blue/ green infrastructure, including walking and cycling; for structural maintenance, safer routes to schools and traffic information and control. Unfortunately, as a result of legal challenges the Department has encountered difficulties with award of contracts and we currently do not have an asphalt resurfacing contractor in the Fermanagh and Omagh area however officials are working at pace to get contractor resources on the ground as quickly as possible."
Mr Gallagher further added:
"The overall 2021/22 structural maintenance capital budget is Pound 104m for Northern Ireland against an annual requirement of some Pound 143 million. Of this Pound 17m has been set aside for a roads recovery fund, which is being used to address areas of immediate need across the road network and Pound 1.9 million has been allocated to the Fermanagh and Omagh area. The Department will continue to identify those roads in most need of repair and prioritise this work alongside other ongoing priorities"
"I also am pleased to report that despite significant resource budget pressures the Resource allocations received in 2021/22 will allow DfI Roads to maintain the road network to a similar standard as last year, including funding for a full street light repair service and an average Winter Gritting Service."
Concluding Mr Gallagher said:
"Our teams will also continue to develop local transport and safety schemes and maintenance programmes to enhance safety and provide measures to enable more people to walk and cycle a part of their everyday routine. As the year progresses we will continue to bid for additional funding to maintain the integrity of the road network and additional schemes will be implemented as funding becomes available through the year."
"I would encourage Councillors to continue to contact the relevant members of my staff in relation to operational matters and they will do their best to assist."