‘Playing chicken’ with other peoples’ lives

RESIDENTS have hit out at the new roadworks on Garryduff Road stating they’re ‘an accident waiting to happen’ and ‘playing chicken’ with peoples’ lives.

Motorists leaving their home around Windsor Gardens and Shandon Park, claim that the diversion work is ‘inappropriately laid out’ causing traffic to flow one way and in some incidents meet head on.

Community representative Iain McAfee explained: “When I received a call regarding the road works on the Garryduff Road I immediately made the effort to drive through that area to see what issues the residents and motorists may be having.

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“On making my way out of town I met a car exiting the Joey Dunlop Centre. The other motorist had to nudge a cone out of the way and pull onto a clear piece of the other lane as it was impossible for me to reverse.

“I then called with a resident of Windsor Gardens to discuss the problem. When I left I got to the junction of Windsor Gardens and the Garryduff Road. I couldn’t see the traffic lights or tell what way the traffic was going to come from, so I decided to turn left towards the town.

“The lights at the bottom (town side) were just changing and I again encountered another car coming towards me on the same lane. Out of courtesy I turned onto Riada Avenue to avoid another situation where someone had to take action to get out of the way.

“Surely before such works are undertaken the people responsible should take into account these issues and more importantly take into consideration the problems this may cause to local residents.

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“I could see immediately the potential for an accident or confrontation especially if motorists weren’t considerate and give way and that is why I have also drawn the situation to the attention of the PSNI.

“Admittedly after a day or so local people are more aware of the potential problems however there is a lot of other people use this area to go into the leave the town or access the Joey Dunlop Centre and the ACORN Centre.”

Over the past week, a number of residents have also called the Times office to express their concerns over the road works.

One resident of Windsor Gardens stated: “It really is an accident waiting to happen. I believe the work is to lay lead pipes and everyone here appreciates the work that they are doing. However we just feel there should be a better traffic diversion put into place it is totally inappropriately laid out.

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People coming onto the road are having to drive against the flow of traffic and, although local residents know how to work the system now, others new on this stretch of road don’t.

“It really is an accident waiting to happen. It could cause road rage as motorists travelling on the road have to give-way to others coming in the opposite direction.”

Another Shandon Park resident also described the road works as ‘playing chicken’ with peoples’ lives adding: “These roadworks are a disgrace.

“Motorists are playing chicken as to who has right of way and who should go first.

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“I have contacted Roads Service and they say it’s a matter for the Water Service. We don’t mind who sorts it out as long as it is before an accident is caused.”

The Times contacted DRD Roads Service on Friday who explained that, following complaints, the Contractor was ‘currently reviewing’ the signage.

A spokesperson said: ““NI Water commenced work on the Garryduff Road on Monday 18th July 2011 in order to replace 38km of watermains in the area.

“As with all work of this nature, traffic management was set out in accordance with Road Service regulations. NI Water received a complaint yesterday, Thursday 22nd July, regarding signage in the area and the Contractor is currently reviewing this.

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“Work on Riada Avenue will be complete by today, Friday 22nd July.

“NI Water had two-way lights in place on Garryduff Road. Where Riada Avenue merges onto Garryduff Road and erected signs on Riada Avenue warning drivers that the Garryduff Road is under traffic lights and to take extra care when coming onto the road. Putting in place three way lights would only cause further delays for traffic, and in the past has lead to people jumping lights. NI Water therefore only uses them in situations when the merging road is very busy.

“Following completion of work on Riada Avenue today, further work in this area will only impact on a small number of housing estates which will merge into the section under the traffic lights. NI Water will erect signs warning of the traffic control ahead.

“We are also currently getting additional signs made to warn drivers on Garryduff Road of traffic merging from side roads.

“The site set up is being monitored on a daily basis.”