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Magical mystery detour as roadworks cripple Caledon

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Magical mystery detour as roadworks cripple Caledon thumbnailCaledon Main Street on Monday morning

FURIOUS Caledon residents face making round trips of nearly 50 miles thanks to a traffic diversion put in place to enable a 900m stretch of the village's KIllylea Road to undergo resurfacing work.

The detour, put in place by the Department for Infrastructure, started on Monday and it has sparked widespread outrage in the area with villagers stressing that it will cause "mayhem".

Between 7am and 6pm each week day until February 22, part of the Killylea Road will be off limits to drivers, with traffic diverted via Main Street, Dyan Road, Battleford Road and the Knappagh and Killylea roads.

One villager pointed out that for some Caledon residents, business owners as well as parents and school staff, it could mean undertaking a 48-mile round trip to get to their destinations.

"This is going to cause mayhem as this work will totally shut off a rural community," they said.

"Some staff at schools and the playgroup will have to do a 48-mile round trip to get to work, same with other businesses; we have a butcher, two hairdressers, a food store, and various companies in the village... every business will be affected - even deliveries to those businesses on a daily basis will be disrupted."

The resident added that the elderly people face travelling the same nearly 50-mile round journey just to visit a GP or pharmacy in nearby Tynan. "And what about care workers getting into the village?

"Childminders from Tynan and Middletown won't be able to get into Caledon to pick up school children from school or from playgroup," they continued. "Will parents have to quite work early to come and pick up their children?

"Parents who have children at Middletown school won't be able to get there and many people in the village work in Killylea or Armagh, logistically for these people this is a nightmare."

They added, "Hundreds of vehicles, including agricultural and HGVs, travel through the village daily. There are no major notices so all the lorries etc., which come through Caledon on a daily basis will still come to Caledon. There'll be gridlock and what about emergency vehicles?"

The Introduction of a contraflow has been ruled out by TransportNI, according to Alderman Freda Donnelly who raised the concerns with a local official.

"I have been informed that it is necessary for health and safety reasons, whereby safety zones are kept clear of vehicular traffic," she said. "It has also been confirmed that the contractor's machines require more than half of the road width. A safety zone would be required beyond this to allow a contra flow. Adequate road width is therefore not available for a contra flow at this location."

Acknowledging that the traffic diversion would lead to "major upheaval" to residents and road users, she added, "The Divisional Manager has also assured me that the period of closure will be minimised."

A spokesperson for Department for Infrastructure (DfI) confirmed that machinery size prevents a contraflow being put in place. "The closure of the Coolkill Road, Killylea Road Armagh is necessary for the health and safety of both contractors and the public whilst planned resurfacing works are undertaken.

“The diversion length is approximately 14 miles, which will add approximately 20 minutes to journey times.

“TransportNI has planned the works and traffic management arrangements to minimise any inconvenience, however drivers should expect some delays and are advised to allow additional time when planning their journey.

 "Emergency vehicles will have access when necessary."

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