The Roads Service is to review traffic and pedestrian safety along the Camlough Road in Newry. The commitment by the Roads Service was made at a recent meeting held between the road agency and éirígí, the socialist republican party.
The meeting follows a number of complaints which éirígí in Newry has received from local residents in recent times, a number of which related the dangers posed to pedestrians by cars accelerating in order to jump traffic lights.
Speaking after the meeting with Roads Service, local éirígí spokesperson Stephen Murney said, “The Camlough Road, as it runs past the Derrybeg and Carnagat areas, with its close proximity to Daisy Hill Hospital as well as the main Belfast/Dublin motorway, is a very busy and at times very dangerous stretch of roadway. That situation is further compounded by the fact that large numbers of children, including those of primary age, use the road twice daily on their way to and from local schools.
“Sadly over the years there have previously been several fatalities along this stretch of road.
“Our party received quite a number of complaints over the past while regarding road safety issues in the area and, as a result, we sought and secured a meeting with Roads Service in order to relay those concerns.
Murney continued, “A site meeting was held with Roads Service today (Monday 2nd February) to discuss these matters and to give the agency an opportunity to see some of the problems at first hand.
“Part of the problem is caused by inconsiderate drivers who accelerate their speed as they approach traffic lights on the main road in order to try and ‘jump the lights’. A number of such incidents have occurred while parents pushing babies in prams or accompanying children have been attempting to the cross the road. Elderly people have also experienced similar problems at the traffic lights.”
Murney continued “This is an extremely busy section of road with pedestrians using the crossing at the traffic lights to access the near-by Daisy Hill Hospital. Large numbers of school children from the Parkhead and Carnagat areas also have to cross the road twice a day in order to get to and from St Patrick’s Primary School, St Joseph’s High School and St Colman’s College.”
Turning to today’s meeting, Mr Murney said, “Along with a local community worker, I was able to highlight a number of problems. I’m pleased to report that Road Service’s representative gave a commitment that the agency will consider a number of options aimed at improving traffic and pedestrian safety in the area over the next number of months. That may include introducing a number of traffic calming measures.
“It was also agreed that one of the early priorities should be the repair of the safety barrier adjacent to the traffic lights.
"We will keep local residents up to date on these matters and will also maintain pressure on Roads Service in order to achieve a long-term and effective remedy and prevent any future accidents.
“In the meantime, I would urge pedestrians to use caution when attempting to cross at the traffic lights and I would particularly urge motorists exercise extra care when using this stretch of roadway, particularly when approaching these lights.”