Plea for ‘life saving’ crash barrier denied

SDLP Colr.Gerry Mullan with Eithne and Dominic Ness at their home where a car left the road on the weekend of April 17th and crashed into their garden leaving a trail of damage. INLV1915-019KDR

SDLP Colr.Gerry Mullan with Eithne and Dominic Ness at their home where a car left the road on the weekend of April 17th and crashed into their garden leaving a trail of damage. INLV1915-019KDR

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A Magilligan couple have been left disappointed after their plea for what they believe would be a “life saving” crash barrier to be installed at the sharp bend next to their home has been denied.

Eithne and Dominic Ness live on the Seacoast Road at a sharp bend which has been the scene of several accidents in recent years.

When you have to cut the grass, or paint the fence, you have to do it early in the morning and you learn to do it quickly

Homeowner, Eithne Ness

In one year alone, the couple counted 27 accidents at the spot, with vehicles smashing through their fence and leaving a trail of destruction on their property.

On the weekend of April 17th the couple arrived home to find at least 20-foot of their wooden fence had been torn through and car parts strewn throughout the garden.

The couple had hoped a crash barrier would be installed at the bend.

TransportNI conducted a site inspection and assessed the area for the need for a safety barrier, but said “the outcome of the assessment is that the location does not meet the criteria” and the matter will not be taken forward.

TransportNI say they will introduce high visibility bend warning signs and chevrons together with upgraded carriageway lining and markings as part of improved traffic management measures to increase driver awareness approaching the bend from either side.

While the couple welcome any road safety moves, Eithne said: “We are very disappointed. We’re just waiting to see when the next accident happens. It’s a matter of time before someone is badly hurt, or killed. When you have to cut the grass, or paint the fence, you have to do it early in the morning and you learn to do it quickly.”

Dominic said: “I see different places where there are crash barriers that are not needed. It doesn’t make sense to me.”

SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan said he was disappointed at the decision, and would be contacting TransportNI about the decision.

“I believe unless a crash barrier is installed, someone will be badly injured, or worse,” said Colr. Mullan.

Police say they “have conducted extensive enquiries to locate the offending vehicle including database searches and physical vehicle and premises checks” in relation to the incident on April 17th, but “these enquiries have thus far proved negative”.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “However, the investigation is still live.

“The investigating officer would reiterate his appeal for witnesses.

“He is particularly keen to hear from anyone who may have seen a vehicle colliding with the hedge and fence, or any vehicle recovery activity, at the address at any time between 7pm on April 17th and 10am on April 18th.

“The number to call is 101.”