Hemmed in by roadworks

A LURGAN man has spoken of his frustration at being ‘hemmed in’ by roadworks.

Roadworks on the Silverwood Road were the source of much contention last week with police having to assist Road Service workers who they say were being put at risk by drivers ignoring ‘Road Closed’ signs.

The resurfacing work led to the closure of Silverwood Road between Kiln Lane and the Tannaghmore Gardens roundabout.

Last Wednesday morning a Knockramer Meadows resident contacted the ‘MAIL’ after he’d been faced with cones blocking both the right and left turn onto Silverwood Road.

He claimed he was ordered back into the cul-de-sac by police who “obviously didn’t realise there was no way out”.

The man said: “I checked at 8.30am and I was told by police I could turn right. At 8.50am when I was taking my kids to school I was told I couldn’t turn right... or left. I was told to turn round. They obviously didn’t realise there was no way out except the way I was trying to go.

“All traffic coming out of Knockramer Meadows was hemmed in.”

He added: “They must have caught on because later when my wife was leaving they’d moved cones to allow cars to turn right.

“The only way for me to get out was to drive around the cones. I saw an opportunity and that’s what I did. There were about 15 cars behind me who did the same.

“The alternative was to go back home and not bother going to work.I’m self-employed and work in Belfast. I can’t afford to do that.”

He added: “The whole thing is shambolic. This was not well planned.”

He claimed police were handing out fines to cars that had ignored a ‘Road Closed’ sign and tried to exit the roundabout at Tannaghmore onto Silverwood Road.

He said if police had stood at the roundabout they’d have been able to cut people off rather than waiting for them to drive down the road and booking them.

Police confirmed they attended roadworks in the Silverwood Road area to assist Road Service following reports of ‘Road Closed’ and diversion signs being ignored by motorists. They said in a number of instances DRD staff were put at risk by the reckless actions of motorists who refused to follow diversions.

Inspector Ken Annett said: “We offered assistance at these roadworks to prevent workers being put at risk.

“Road closures and diversions are put in place to protect all those using the roads and those who choose to ignore clear signage are breaking the law and putting themselves and others in danger.

“If anyone has a complaint about how they have been treated I would encourage them to contact us so that we can address their concerns. They can also contact the Police Ombudsman.”

A DRD Spokesperson said: “Roads Service is investing £400,000 in the improvement and resurfacing of roads in the Silverwood area. In order to carry out this work as quickly and as safely as possible, there is a legally enforceable temporary road closure in place. It will be in operation until Thursday, March 8.

“Residents of Knockramer Meadows have access to their development. However, on occasions when work is being carried out directly across the entrance to the development, residents may have a short wait to gain access. This disruption is unavoidable and should be minimal. Roads Service apologises for the inconvenience and urges road users to exercise patience.

“Generally, some motorists using the Silverwood Road have been ignoring the road closure signs placed there for safety. As a result, police issued a number of penalty tickets.”