News

Traders ‘not aware’ of £700k road scheme

Thursday, 27 July 2017

ARMAGH traders have hit out at TransportNI for "failing" to consult them ahead of resurfacing work being carried out in Mall West, a local councillor has claimed.
The work, which started on Monday, will see 600m of road resurfaced as well as footpaths by mid September.
The scheme also includes Lonsdale Road and Little Barrack Street as part of a £700,000 project between the Department of Infrastructure and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
As work is carried out, traffic is prohibited from accessing Mall West and is instead being diverted via College Hill, Drumadd Road, Victoria Street and Gaol Square until September 4.
Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Sam Nicholson, however, said that he had been contacted by a number of traders complaining that he had failed to be notified of the scheme beforehand. "I have received a number of phone calls over the past number of days from Armagh business owners who are concerned that the first notice they received regarding these works was on social media," he explained.
“I have discussed the matter with council officers and they have assured me that a consultation process was carried out."
“This is a much needed, major road improvement scheme in Armagh city centre costing in the region of £700,000 which all the businesses I have spoken to both welcome and understand that it is required. However, there does seem to be a difference of opinion regarding the consultation process which is something that we will have to look at in more detail and learn from this."
He continued; "Much-needed schemes such as these are never going to be easy, as we all witnessed first-hand recently during the last major roadworks at Friary Road/Barrack Street. Therefore consultation before, during and after is a must - especially when traffic diversion can cause disruption and delays.
“I have already spoken to the Department for Infrastructure and have requested a meeting with the their works contractor to ensure that any disruption is minimal and there is adequate signage in place to ensure that everyone knows that Armagh city is still open for business."
Councillor Nicholson added; "I will also insist that the contractor keeps the two-way traffic into the Mall West car park as long as is possible as this is a major access into and out of our city centre. As with all work of this nature, delays will be expected, so I would respectfully ask drivers and pedestrians to be patient and to allow additional time when planning journeys in the area whilst the improvements are being carried out."
“Hopefully all the stakeholders involved can work together to deliver this scheme successfully with as minimal disruption possible and in order to help achieve this. Consultation is key."
The Ulster Gazette asked the Department of Instructure for a response, however, it was not received as the paper went to press.The DfI has previously appealed to motorists and drivers to be patient will the work is being carried out. "The department and works contractor aim to keep disruption to a minimum, however delays should be expected and drivers and pedestrians are asked to be patient, and to allow additional time when planning journeys in the area while the improvements are being carried out," they said.

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