DRD pleads poverty as blocked drains fuel flood fears

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A cash-strapped Transport NI has conceded roadside drains maintenance isn’t what it used to be, this amid local fears of potential flooding at Lisburn’s Hillsborough Road.

A number of locals have given voice to fears that the first significant rainfall will see the Hillsborough Road submerged, thanks to blocked drains.

One man, who regularly cycles along the route, reported numerous clogged drains on both sides of the road, either side of Moore’s Bridge.

“I was cycling along the Hillsborough Road,” he said, “and it struck me how many of the drains were blocked, completely clogged up and overgrown with grass and weeds.

“There must have been a dozen or more, all blocked. It’s a disgrace.

“What’s going to happen the first time we get any serious rain?

“The way things are at the minute I can’t see how the Hisllborough Road could possibly escape major flooding.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole thing ended up under water.”

Despite local concerns there’s no indication that remedial action is in the pipeline.

Though it’s understood Transport NI (formerly Roads Service) has itself received no complaints about the roadside drains at Hillsborough Road, a DRD spokesperson conceded budget cuts had impacted on routine maintenance.

“In the current financial situation,” she said, the Department for Regional Development can only deliver a reduced skeleton service for road maintenance. This has affected levels of service in relation to routine maintenance services such as gully cleaning, grass cutting and pothole and streetlight repairs, which are being provided on a reduced scale.”