A busy roundabout in Derry’s Waterside has been branded “the most dangerous road junction in the city”.
Homeowners in Waterfoot Park have likened Caw Roundabout to a “death trap” and say the traffic situation there is “frightening”.
Local resident Niall McCaughan says official police statistics underline the seriousness of the situation.
The figures - obtained by the newly formed Waterfoot Residents’ Group - record the number of reported collisions at the busy roundabout over a three year period.
The stats reveal that, between April 2011 and April 2014, there were 52 traffic collisions at Caw Roundabout.
Over the same period, there were 11 collisions at Culmore Road roundabout, 19 at the Altnagelvin roundabout junction and just three at the Pennyburn roundabout.
Niall McCaughan says the figures are evidence that the Caw junction is “by far the most dangerous in the city.”
Mr. McCaughan says road chiefs “need to stop sitting on their hands” and take “affirmative action” to end the “daily torment” of negotiating the junction which serves four busy dual carriageways.
He told the ‘Journal’ this week: “The comparative analysis of road traffic collisions highlights once and for all that Caw Roundabout is probably the most dangerous junction in Derry with the highest recorded number of incidents. “
He says these figures have never, until now, been placed in context with other comparable junctions which carry heavy volumes of traffic.
“Four major arterial junctions were analysed,” he says. “And, let’s remember, that Caw is the only one of the junctions that has four dual carriageways connecting to it. The results are stark and, to be quite honest, scary. I always guessed that Caw was the accident blackspot of Derry - these figures only confirm my worst fears.”
Mr. McCaughan claims technical analysis prepared by the Department of Regional Development (DRD) on the roundabout has been “cherry-picked” for press releases “so as not to make the situation looks as bad as it actually is.”
He added: “There appears to be a strong imbalance betwen the east and west banks of the city in terms of the provision of traffic lights. Both Pennyburn and Bradley’s Pass are receiving attention and Caw is being ignored.”
He insists it is “ludicrous” to suggest that Caw will receive attention as part of any developments planned for the area.
“This is a red herring and a deflection from reality in that it is premised on speculative development happening in the future,” he said. “There are no live planning approvals for any of the sites near to the roundabout with legal agreements in place requiring developers to pay for highway modifications. Even if there were approvals, these developments are dependent upon a range of factors in terms of market forces, end users, etc., If we have to wait for this to happen, then the roundabout will not be upgraded within even the next five years.”
According to Mr. McCaughan, the traffic situation at Caw Roundabout represents a key civic road safety issue for the city.
“The main message here is that the residents have had enough and are in the process of mounting a challenge to DRD to explain why Caw remains a lesser priority, despite the real dangers presented every day - which are now backed up by the statistical information on road collisions.”