Dobson to discuss area’s winter gritting concerns

The snow ploughs and gritters had a busy time in the snow �Paul Byrne Photography INBL1503-211PB
The snow ploughs and gritters had a busy time in the snow �Paul Byrne Photography INBL1503-211PB

Local MLA Jo-Anne Dobson is to raise gritting concerns with senior Transport NI officials following the freezing weather conditions last week.

The MLA intends to flag up local gritting schedules as well as the location and refilling of grit boxes.

More severe weather is forecast for the middle of this week.

Commenting Mrs Dobson said: “The recent spell of cold and wintry weather has caused treacherous conditions with black ice and slippery footpaths posing dangers on the roads and footpaths.

“Throughout this spell of cold weather I have been in constant contact with Transport NI on behalf of many local people to help residents to get grit boxes across the town refilled and also to report areas which need gritted and re-gritted.

“I have requested a meeting with officials to discuss a long list of issues which have been brought to my attention by local people - all of which I have placed in writing to Transport NI who are responsible for gritting our roads.

“I thank everyone who has been in contact with me and would encourage anyone who would like me to raise their concerns to Roads Service to contact or call into my Constituency Office.”

Mrs Dobson said it was great to see people out helping neighbours to get out and about safely with many “braving the cold weather to help grit their housing estates, making the roads and footpaths safer for everyone”.

Mrs Dobson’s office explained that at the start of this winter, Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said that there would be 300 staff and over 120 gritters on standby to ensure the main roads across Northern Ireland are salted to help drivers to cope with wintry conditions.

They pointed out that Mr Kennedy said at the time: “A large number of these gritters have been replaced this season to improve the reliability in this important service. Salt barns and stockpiles have also been filled to capacity and Transport NI is now holding stocks of almost 110,000 tonnes of salt.”

They also explained that the winter service is a “mammoth logistical undertaking which involves salting around 7,000 km of main roads in just over three hours, across Northern Ireland, at a cost of roughly £80,000 per night”.

Mrs Dobson’s Constituency Office is located at 18 Rathfriland Street, Banbridge and can be contacted at 028 4066 9004 or by email at jo-anne.dobson@mla.niassembly.gov.uk.

See page 23 for more reports on the district’s untreated pavements and the council’s response.