Concern for 200 workers at NI factory crossing high speed road to car park

A multi-national food company based in Portadown has voiced concern for its 200 plus staff over dangerous traffic issues close to the factory.

Golden Cow Dairies has garnered cross party support in calling for more safety measures for staff who have to cross the busy Artabrackagh Road to reach the car park.

Highlighting the road safety problems for workers at golden Cow Dairies, Artabrackagh Road, are from left, Paddy McAlister, operations manager, Joy Mc Farland, health and safety manager, and local MLA, Jonny Buckley. INPT49-203.

Highlighting the road safety problems for workers at golden Cow Dairies, Artabrackagh Road, are from left, Paddy McAlister, operations manager, Joy Mc Farland, health and safety manager, and local MLA, Jonny Buckley. INPT49-203.

Joy McFarland from Golden Cow Dairies said there had been a number of near misses and at least two collisions involving vehicles on the stretch of road over the past year.

Both MLAs Jonathan Buckley (DUP) and Dolores Kelly (SDLP) attended a site meeting to see first hand the dangers facing employees crossing the busy main road.

The firm employs 200 employees on two shifts, morning shift at 6am and the evening shift finishing at midnight.

Joy McFarland from Golden Cow Dairies explained that because of increased production and employing extra staff they had to use extra parking

Upper Bann SDLP candidate in the Assembly election, Dolores Kelly pictured  at the launch of the SDLP election campaign at Oxford Island Discovery Centre on Monday morning. INLM06-211.

Upper Bann SDLP candidate in the Assembly election, Dolores Kelly pictured at the launch of the SDLP election campaign at Oxford Island Discovery Centre on Monday morning. INLM06-211.

“This requires colleagues to cross an extremely busy road with a 60mph speed limit,” she said. “This poses an additional safety risk.”

She explained that they had been in talks with the Department of Infrastructure to see if the speed limit could be reduced at that section of road where staff are crossing.

“Whilst the engagement has been positive, the only action taken has been the erection of advisory traffic signs,” she said.

“We have hired lighting at our cost to highlight to oncoming traffic that there are persons crossing the road. We have already had concerns raised about the sustainability of the lighting.

“Now during the winter months, with shorter days, reduced visibility and poorer road conditions, the risk is significantly increased for everyone.

“We have now engaged with our local MLAs for their support and advice on how to accelerate the process of establishing additional road safety measures either through the local council or NI department of Infrastructure.”

Mr Buckley said: “The Artabrackagh Road is in need of urgent attention, for the safety of both road users and pedestrians crossing the road.”

“Dolores and I will be pushing both the police and the Department of Infrastructure to find a solution to the road safety concerns and to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” he added commending the firm for ‘their foresight in bringing this to our attention before a serious accident occurs’.

Mrs Kelly said she had been in touch with the PSNI’s district command to request a health and safety assessment be carried out at the Artabrackagh Road.

A DfI spokesman said: “The Department has previously been in contact with Golden Cow dairies and assessed the location for road safety measures. We undertook to provide an additional road sign and road marking on each approach to the site. The signs have been erected and the road markings will be completed as part of a programme of work which has been issued to our contractor.

“We would like to take the opportunity to remind road users that we should all take personal responsibility for our own safety and the safety of other road users.”