Second access to hospital is discussed

Traffic congestion close to Craigavon Area Hospital
Traffic congestion close to Craigavon Area Hospital

Plans for a second access to Craigavon Hospital are being discussed, according to the Department of Infrastructure.

Local Ulster Unionist politicians have voiced concern at the severe congestion particularly at rush hour.

Cllr Julie Flaherty and Alderman Arnold Hatch warned the situation could get worse as the road is at capacity with some substantial developments in the pipeline.

“Work has already begun on a significant housing development in Kernan and Lisnisky. The plans and scheme are to be welcomed as good quality affordable housing is needed in the area. Indeed, this area is shaping up to become a very desirable area to live in.

“However, as this development is designed to bring new young families into the area it would also be interested to know of plans for school places in the area.

“The three local schools are already at capacity requiring new buildings and extensions. New young families are always welcome but there must be facilities to service these family needs.

“Access to the Hospital is becoming a serious issue for many. There is a real possibility that emergency services may be delayed due to the sheer weight of traffic and no ability at certain times of the day for traffic to move out of the way of oncoming blue light vehicles. We also have the possible move of the Southern Regional College which again will bring more traffic through this area and of course the new leisure facility at Craigavon. All this adds up to increased traffic in an already congested area.

“Historically there has been a huge problem with traffic congestion in this part of town - even before the larger developments such a Kernan Hill Manor came along. Adding further housing will by its very nature increase the number of vehicles on the road in this area adding to the congestion issues.

“Therefore, the infrastructure around the proposed development must be enhanced and given the same priority as the houses being built. At present we already have the problem of Mandeville Road traffic converging into Lurgan Road (roundabout 7) heading into town right up to the main hospital entrance.

“Converging traffic from the Kernan Road, Church road, Lisnisky lane and Kernan Hill road already make the area a serious bottle neck.

“In simple terms the main road passing through the area must be upgraded and improved and a serious plan for this infrastructure improvement must consist of more than a series of roundabouts.”

Colleague and UUP MLA for Upper Bann Doug Beattie had raised concerns previously and now has serious concerns about the viability of the roads infrastructure with the new developments in the immediate area of the hospital as well as major infrastructure projects around the SRC, the new leisure centre and the new integrated school. Such is his concerns he has now written to the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) to outline his concerns.”

A Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said: “The Department is aware of concerns regarding traffic progression in this area and as with most regional towns it is largely confined during the peak periods.

“Traffic issues associated with development proposals in the area including the proposed Southern Regional College and Leisure Centre in Craigavon are considered as part of the Planning process. A detailed Transport Assessment forms part of the planning process for significant developments and any mitigation measures required to deal with the impact of additional traffic flows will be identified for delivery by the developer.

“Whilst the Department has no plans for any additional engineering measures at this time we are working with developers and the Health Trust with a view to upgrading Lisnisky Lane to provide a second access to Craigavon Area Hospital. The Department will also continue to work closely with the local Council to explore how access to this area can be developed to allow further development in the future.”