£62k compensation for vehicle damage, Northern Division figures reveal

The local division of the Department for Infrastructure Roads (DfI) service spent over £17,000 repairing potholes in 2020, figures have revealed.

But some £62,000 was paid out in compensation following vehicle damage on the roads for the area during the same period.

The Northern Division of DfI Roads has also detailed there were 2,805 “pothole enquiries” between January 1, and December 31, 2020.

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DfI said their current standards “specify a range of response times for the repair of road defects, depending on factors such as their severity and the volume of traffic on the road”.

The pothole at Ballywillan Road before it was patched.

“They range from one calendar day for the most serious defects to periods of five working days and four weeks for less serious defects. The least serious defects are usually repaired as part of the next work programme for that route.

“If it becomes apparent that the stipulated response time cannot be met, then the Department has the option of installing signs to warn road users,” a spokeswoman said.

In response to questions from this newspaper, the Department disclosed that in 2019-2020 £17,965 had been spent on repairing road surfaces, which was a slight drop from the spent of £18,219 the previous year.

The total spent last year in Northern Ireland on repairs was £69,012, again a drop from the £69,902 spend the previous year.

“The resurfacing expenditure includes resurfacing of carriageways and footways of the road network. A pothole may not necessarily only be repaired by a full resurface, but rather the majority of potholes are repaired by patching,” the Department explained.

The accounting system operated by the Northern Ireland Civil Service does not differentiate between causes of incidents which resulted in vehicle damage claims, so it has been unable to identify the amount of compensation paid out because of incidents involving potholes.

However, £62,000 damage compensation was paid out last year in respect of Northern Division, the Department has confirmed. The total for vehicle damage compensation was £408,000.

“As claims received in a financial year are not always concluded in the same financial year, these figures will include compensation paid for claims received in prior financial years,” the Department added.

Meanwhile, it also drew the attention to the online fault reporting system, which can be accessed at www.nidirect.gov.uk/information-and-services/travel-transport-and-roads/problems-roads-and-streets

The Department’s responses come after complaints from road users about potholes in a number of east Antrim areas, one so bad that it was nicknamed ‘the crater’ by locals, who erected a sign to that effect to alert those approaching it.

The pothole in question was on the Ballywillan Road near Gleno and it is believed a number of motorists fell foul of it before it was patched. Several people went to online media to complain that they had damaged tyres, alloys and springs on the Gleno pothole and others in the local area.

Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart posted about the Gleno pothole on social media, alerting people to it as “a real bone shaker” and reported it for urgent repair.

The Ballywillan Road pothole was subsequently repaired, but there have been other complaints relating to the state of roads in Magheramorne, Islandmagee, Millbrook and elsewhere.


Click here to read: ‘Much needed’ Larne resurfacing scheme welcomed


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