Date set for reopening of bridge washed away in flash flooding

Ballynameen Bridge in Claudy
Ballynameen Bridge in Claudy

A bridge washed away in flash flooding in County Londonderry last summer is to reopen, the Department of Infrastructure has confirmed.

The Ballynameen Bridge in Claudy is set to be accessible to motorists by the end of September, DfI Roads said.

The closure of the bridge has caused major traffic problems in the north west village.

Initially, the rebuilding work was to have been completed inside a year, but Derry City and Strabane District Council was told earlier this month that the date had 'slipped' to September.

Waterside Ulster Unionist councillor Mary Hamilton has welcomed the news, but warned that the project cannot be delayed any longer.

"The loss of the bridge has had a big impact on life in the village and people are facing very long diversions," Mrs Hamilton said.

"I am pleased that we now have a completion date, but it can't be allowed to slip any further."

DFI Roads Western Division senior engineer Robin Cutty, in a letter to the council, confirmed that the expected completion date for the work was now September 28, 2018.

"The delivery of the Ballynameen Bridge scheme involved satisfying the requirements of a number of statutory authorities and agencies," he wrote.

"These requirements were in addition to our own internal DFI Roads approval processes such as geotechnical approval for the ground conditions and technical approval for the structural elements of the bridge.

"Unfortunately securing the statutory approval of all the external agencies took approximately eight weeks to gain.

"These processes were outside the control of DFI Roads and, despite our best endeavours, has resulted in the contract period being delayed by the same period.

"The anticipated completion date is now September 28, 2018.

"The Department would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience caused by the increase in time for completion and will be working with the contractor to ensure that every effort possible is made to reopen the road to traffic in advance of this date."