One of NI’s last remaining security gates removed

The Edward St. security barrier. INPT01-209.
The Edward St. security barrier. INPT01-209.

After more than 40 years - a security barrier in Portadown - one of the last in a Northern Ireland town, has been removed.

The barrier at Edward Street has been the subject of numerous campaigns by traders and politicians calling for its removal.

Sited outside the town’s police station, it became an archaic reminder of The Troubles and even when the peace process was cemented, the barrier remained.

With the opening of Mahon Road Police Station it was felt there was no need for a police station in the town centre and the barrier could be removed.

However it remained even when there was just a part time enquiry office at the Edward Street station.

A further campaign began last year when the station’s enquiry office closed completely last April but the barrier remained.

In a statement last night the Department of Infrastructure revealed that the barrier will be removed and two way traffic will be permitted.

“This will ease access for local businesses and residents in the immediate vicinity and will have other knock-on benefits for road users travelling around the town.

“This follows completion of resurfacing work and removal of the security infrastructure.

“Roads users and pedestrians are asked to remain attentive because these changes may be unfamiliar at first.

“The Department of Infrastructure will be carefully monitoring traffic patterns to assess if any additional measures are required as it has been several years since Edward Street has been open to two way through traffic.

“Parking legislation for the street is being brought forward in the coming months but as an interim measure, parking restrictions will be in place and enforced to facilitate road safety and traffic progression. These will be supplemented with PSNI “No Waiting” cones during the initial period to highlight the areas where parking is not permitted.

Last year a group of Portadown Councillors sought meetings with civil servants to secure the opening of Edward St.

Solicitor Brian Walker, who has offices in the street, had previously described the situation as “ridiculous”.

There had been campaigns to various outlets including previous Secretaries of State and Justice Ministers as well as the Northern Ireland Office but to no avail.