‘A bypass is the only solution’ for Dungiven

Vincent Gallagher outside his home on lower Main Street Dungiven.
Vincent Gallagher outside his home on lower Main Street Dungiven.

A bypass is “the only practical method to reduce traffic levels” in Dungiven, according to infrastructure minister, Chris Hazzard.

In full agreement with the statement is Dungiven Main Street resident, Vincent Gallagher.

The traffic never stops, it’s steady

Dungiven resident, Vincent Gallagher

“The traffic never stops, it’s steady,” Mr. Gallagher told the ‘Journal’. “I can count 25 vehicles a minute going past my door. The only solution for Dungiven is a bypass.”

Minister Hazard was recently asked by East Derry MLA, Gerry Mullan, what assessment has been made of air quality in Main Street, Dungiven over the last 12 months.

The minister said having considered several measures, Transport NI agreed with Causeway Council “the construction of a bypass was the only practical method to reduce traffic levels in the village”.

Mr Gallagher was speaking after Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council confirmed the continuous monitor located on Dungiven Main Street hasn’t been operational since March 2016. They say, however, the use of “passive monitoring diffusion tubes has continued”. Council say results obtained on a monthly basis are submitted to the Department of Environment, Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Results from a University of Ulster PhD study last year showed the level of outdoor air pollution recorded outside Mr Gallagher’s property, exceeded the annual objective for nitrogen dioxide. Mr Gallagher claims his daughter’s health problems, including frequent chest infections, are due to the pollution from the non-stop traffic.

“The doctor said it’s because of where we’re living, and the only solution is to move, or get a bypass,” said Mr Gallagher.

A Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said “it is possible that the first phase” of the A6 scheme - the Dungiven bypass - “could commence in the latter part of 2018/19”.

MLA Gerry Mullan said the A6 project must get underway as soon as possible to deal with congestion in Dungiven, and to improve public health.