‘DANGEROUS’, ‘an accident waiting to happen’, ‘scandalous’ - these are just some of the flood of complaints to the ‘Mail’ on the new roadworks at Lurgan’s spaghetti junction.
Pedestrians, motorists, business people and shoppers have lambasted the layout at Edward Street/Millennium Way, describing it as hazardous. They have voiced grave concerns that the junction could lead to serious accidents.
The spiral of carriageways, roads, slip roads and laneways is currently undergoing a transformation with a new traffic light system and road layout.
However major confusion has arisen and several accidents have already happened, at least one involving a pedestrian.
A businessman said one of a group of schoolgirls with an umbrella got it snagged on the back of a work lorry as she attempted to cross the busy road network. “My heart was in my mouth. I thought she was going to be killed,” he said.
One motorist also voiced concern about the safety of schoolchildren crossing the junction.
“I fear for the children’s lives. I watch them coming out of the school and with the chaos that is being caused by those roadworks, it’s an accident waiting to happen. I just hope none of those wee girls from St Mary’s get hurt,” she said.
Another motorist who uses the junction daily said the situation was ‘dangerous’.
The white van driver, who wanted only to be known as Jim, complained about the persistent tailbacks and the length of time the traffic lights were red. “They are constantly working on that road and making a mess off it,” he said.
One local businessman was highly critical of the roadworks.
He had a litany of issues, including the danger of the layout and also voiced concern for pedestrians unfamiliar of the new layout.
He said at least one pedestrian was knocked down as he walked along what had previously been a loading bay. And he said there had been an accident between a Jeep and a Mercedez.
“People don’t understand the new layout,” he said. He also demanded a lollipop service for the school children who are trying to cross the mesh of roads at peak times.
And he was particularly annoyed that Road Service have put down new footpaths however these will be ripped up and replaced in a few months when phase 2 of the public realm works begins.
He said there was a significant downturn in business since the road works began.
“Local traders are struggling already and the huge rates bills were eating into our profits,” he said, adding that he pays for his own water, bin collection and other amenities and feels he is paying rates for shoddy services.
He explained that local businesses had worked with the ReStore Project and had recently painted their properties. “However just weeks later the Road Service dig up the roads causing serious dirt and grime and destroying the fresh paint,” he said adding that the fumes as paint was being stripped from the road was insufferable.
He said the work should have been undertaken at night or on Sundays to avoid disruption.
“I have no quarrels with the workers. They have been very helpful. He is pleased that it will mean an extra three parking spaces but suggested that these be limited to one or two hours parking.
Businessman Vincent McAlinden said: “It’s a complete disaster. There have been accidents and they worked all day Sunday at the traffic lights and they are still not right.”
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A DRD Spokesperson said: “The works started at the beginning of August 2012 and should be completed by early November.
“As with all roads schemes, Roads Service works closely with the contractor, who is responsible for the site for the duration of the works, to ensure that the site complies with all relevant health and safety legislation.”