Transport NI defends timing of Lurgan Road scheme

Church Street Banbridge �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1637-231EB
Church Street Banbridge �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1637-231EB

The decision to start roadworks near two Banbridge schools on the week term resumed has caused outrage among locals, who have criticized Transport NI for having ‘no common sense’.

Drivers facing the frenzy of school-run traffic on the Lurgan Road were dismayed when they discovered roadworks had started in the area, further compounding congestion.

Councillor Glenn Barr said: “There has been no joined up thinking (or any type for that matter) when they leave these road works until the schools go back.”

Transport NI has defended the move however, citing ‘contract issues’ as the reason work was not carried out during the summer.

A spokesman for the Department for Infrastructure said: “Transport NI will normally try to programme schemes close to schools during holiday periods.

“Work on the £62,000 road improvement scheme in Banbridge was originally scheduled to take place during school holidays in July/August 2016 but unfortunately this was not possible due to contract issues.”

Reminding motorists that the work would ‘significantly improve the structural integrity and road surface quality of Church Street’, the spokesman said the works were due to be completed by Sunday past (September 11).

“Transport NI had programmed the rescheduled work operations and traffic management to minimise disruption as much as possible,” he continued. “Works were carried out on Sunday,

September 4 and Monday, September 5 when Church Street was closed from 5am Sunday until 6am Monday with work continuing on Monday, September 5 from 9.30am until 4:30pm.”

Councillor Paul Greenfield said it was ‘not good timing to start the work’.

“That said, we have some roads around the town in a bad state and the sooner we can get them resurfaced the better,” he continued.

“The Linenhall Street/Ballygowan Road area has been in need of repair for sometime and will be getting resurfaced at the end of the month, again not good timing but really glad to see its going to be done.”

Locals upset by the congestion had taken to social media to express their views.

Stephanie Hewitt said: “It’s always the same! Schools back, roadworks start and make the school run even more stressful.

“Is there something wrong that contractors can’t do this work during holidays?”

Donna McKnight said: “Eight weeks of the summer and they wait and start it when the schools go back.”

Christine Gibson said: “Its organised chaos.”

Tiger Lesley Gregg said: “Had whole summer to do these things but no, soon as schools are back they dig up the roads.”

Emma Cochrane said: “Total disaster, it’s keeping all our students late for dance class.

“No common sense at all.”