Speeding motorists and those not heeding traffic signs have been blamed by NI Water for complete road closures during works near Aghagallon.
Constant road closures, often with either no or short notice, have caused major disruption to residents in the area and have resulted in a number of complaints.
However, NI Water hit back saying the reason for the closures during the £14m Castor Bay to Belfast Trunk Main Scheme, was speeding and motorists not heeding traffic signals.
SDLP Cllr Joe Nelson said he had numerous complaints regarding poor communication about road closures and diversions. “We should not have faced the levels of disruption we did.” he said.
He said he and party colleague Dolores Kelly had met with NI Water, Capita (Project managers) and the contractor and sought assurances that the disruption would be kept to a minium and pointed out that a similar project ten years ago didn’t have anywhere near the same problems.
NI Water said it had tried to ‘undertake pipelaying on the Cornakinnegar Road under a lane closure, but due to some motorists not heeding the traffic signals and using excess speed, LCG applied to Roads Service for a road closure so that they could install the large diameter pipes in the safest possible manner and protect both their operatives and the general public.
“Transport NI granted a one-week full closure (from 16th February – 23rd February) on the Lurgan Road followed by a three-week night time closure (up to March 15) on the Cornakinnegar Road to facilitate pipelaying and the contractor employed a 24-hour working regime in a bid to complete the pipelaying in the shortest timescale possible to minimise disruption to the public.
“Over 500 letters were distributed to residents in the vicinity of the Lurgan and Cornakinnegar Roads to advise them of the planned works and to provide the Waterline number in case of queries. Large digital signs and other construction ‘working’ signs were also erected in advance of works to notify motorists of the road closures and relevant diversions.
“NI Water is aware of a number of customer complaints in the local area and regrets any inconvenience caused. We would like to thank the public for their ongoing patience.”
Cllr Nelson said there had been sat nav issues and pointed out that diversions of 15 miles to Lurgan were unacceptable. He also condemned those motorists who ignored traffic signalling and speed limits.