Renewed call for better traffic lights sequencing

SPEAKING at last Monday night’s full council meeting, Alderman Paul Greenfield has called on the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) to review the timing of the traffic lights at the Commercial Road/Scarva Street junction.

​The realigned junction, which is now lights-operated, has been a source of complaints from day one, the perception being that waiting times are excessive, and right-hand turns awkward.

In their annual report presented on Monday night, DfI featured the completed works at the realigned junction, in the form of pictures with the following caption: “Junction realignment and signalisation to improve pedestrian safety and traffic progression.”

The DUP representative clearly did not view the redesigned junction as an “improvement” – at least in its current design.

He stated: "I have been contacted many times about the problems with the traffic light sequencing at the new road layout on Scarva Street junction, and I once again raised this issue with Mark McPeak, Divisional Manager of DFI Roads Service Southern Division.

"I reminded him that I had raised this before, shortly after the lights were installed and several times since.

"There seems to be an issue with the timing, and it is causing traffic to be backed up onto Newry Street and Rathfriland Street.

“I look forward to a positive outcome which allows a better flow of traffic."

Such was the level of discontent, when the scheme was finalised last January, that the the long queuing times generated a lot of reactions from local residents – so much so that this was actually our front-page story at the time.

One wrote on our FB page: “Worst traffic junction I have seen. Only a matter of time before there’s a serious accident. I do all I can to avoid driving in the area now.”

Another one stated: “Would a roundabout not have been a better job? It’s a nightmare on a Friday and Saturday.”

Back then, DfI blamed structural damage and promised to ‘fine-tune’ the traffic lights.

DfI have been contacted. They will respond in due course.