Culmore roundabout lights an ‘abomination’

The new traffic lights at Culmore roundabout

The new traffic lights at Culmore roundabout

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A Derry driving instructor last night branded the new traffic lights at Culmore roundabout an “abomination.”

John O’Donnell from 1st Choice Driving questioned why the new roundabout which opened on Sunday requires traffic lights.

“If they have to put lights on a roundabout then it’s not working,” he said. “If that’s the case take the roundabout out and have a junction.

“We now have three sets of traffic lights, if there was a junction we would only have one.”

The Derry man revealed how he had been caught three times by a red light last Sunday morning when the roundabout was deserted.

“We know there were tailbacks in the mornings and evenings, now it’s busy all the time.”

He also questioned the markings in the road saying that once a few cars were on the approach to the roundabout these lines get covered up, confusing drivers about what way to go.

“It’s called a spiral roundabout,” he said, “which means that when you get in to your lane it should take you to your exit. Why were the lanes not colour co-ordinated so people should follow the right colour?

“They’ve jumped the gun here. They should have tried the roundabout out first. I’ve spoken to other driving instructors and they agree with me, and we’re experienced drivers.”

A DRD spokeswoman said: “Roads Service is very pleased with the operation of the junction so far and everything has gone according to plan. It is anticipated that it should take three to four weeks for traffic patterns to settle down and for drivers to become used to the layout and operation of the junction. “

The DRD said the current traffic levels meant the roundabout could not operate without traffic lights and that a number of options had been taken into consideration.

“Whilst traffic levels now at certain times of the day may suggest that traffic signals are not required at all times of the day, the physical configuration of the roundabout would not permit operation without signals. The absence of congestion now proves that the correct solution was used, but can be deceiving to the casual observer who may remark that it appears there is no need for the signals. If the signals were switched off or not working correctly the congestion would reappear very quickly.”

The DRD said it would be impossible to have colour coded lanes adding that this was impossible where lanes are crossing each other.

“The lanes around the circulatory carriageway are clearly marked,” the spokesperson added.