‘An accident waiting to happen’

Cars parked alongside the bridge at Claudy.
Cars parked alongside the bridge at Claudy.

A local man has warned that fishermen are posing a real traffic hazard by parking alongside the only bridge currently open in the Claudy area.

The man described the situation at McCandless’ Bridge along the Cregg Road in Claudy as “an accident waiting to happen.”

The main Ballynameen Bridge in the village has been closed to traffic for over a year after part of it collapsed in the August floods of 2017. Works to repair the bridge have been ongoing for months. The Claudy resident said that as a result of this people can only get in and out via the smaller bridge, but that inconsiderate parking by people stopping to fish in the area is causing tailbacks and creating dangerous blind spots as well as resulting in near misses between cars trying to pass through the narrow gaps left.

“It’s really bad,” he said. “It is an accident waiting to happen. There were 12 cars parked there yesterday all lined up, all backed up onto the bridge.

“Fishermen have parked there for years as that particular road wasn’t used much but now it is the only route in and out. It’s just a lack of consideration.”

The man said there was parking available at other sites nearby, at Cumber House and an old graveyard, both just a few minutes walk away. “Fishermen would be used to parking up and walking to the place where they fish so this shouldn’t be a problem,” he added. “How many rivers can you actually drive up to the riverbank?”

He added that “no parking” signs were to be erected telling people not to park, but they haven’t been installed.

A Department for Infrastructure spokesman said: “Construction work on Ballynameen Bridge is well underway with strengthening of the remaining structure completed and the extensions to the first two arches in place.”

The spokesperson added: “Work is ongoing to prepare for the installation of the missing arches within the next couple of weeks with a view to re-opening the road to traffic in September. It is anticipated that all works will be completed by October.”