Ophelia: Bridge closure in Derry

The Peace Bridge will close at 3pm.
The Peace Bridge will close at 3pm.

Access to the Peace Bridge in Derry will be closed off this afternoon, with Foyle Bridge also looking likely to be closed, it has just been confirmed.

All cemeteries, parks and play areas have now also been closed across Derry and Strabane.

The Department for Infrastructure had advised road users to take care as ex-Hurricane Ophelia tracks its way north.

DfI has activated its emergency plan, and Roads and Rivers teams are ready to respond to any impacts from today’s forecast severe weather.

A spokesman said: “There are likely to be impacts on some bridges and roads resulting in closures.

“The Peace Bridge in Derry will close at 3 p.m. It is likely closures will be put in place for Foyle Bridge.

“Information in relation to this will be published on www.trafficwatchni.com and variable messaging signs on roads will also be updated.

“We would ask road users to adhere to road signage and any temporary arrangements put in place both today and during any repair work which may be required.”

Schools, parks and greenways have now been closed across various parts of Derry.

A spokesperson for Derry & Strabane Council said: “The Council has taken a number of decisions in the interest of public safety that will see the closure of all parks and play areas including St Columb’s park, Claudy Country Park and Brooke Park as well as the NW Greenway.

“Cemeteries will be open to facilitate funerals only and will not be open to the public.

“All recycling centres and street cleaning operations will cease from lunchtime today while refuse collections will continue but will be phased out throughout the day. The public are advised to expect some disruption to refuse collection services tomorrow.

While all of our leisure centres will remain open, a large number of classes, including swimming lessons have been cancelled. The public are advised to check with the leisure centres directly for updates.

A number of all other Council facilities such as the Guildhall and Tower Museum will have reduced services.

Arrangements have been put into place to provide rest centres should they be needed and officials are in regular contact with community organisations to initiate their community resilience plans if necessary.”

DfI’s winter safety service is on standby and has 300 roads staff ready to deploy to manage any damage or obstruction to roads if necessary and safe to do so across the north.

To report incidents of flooding please contact the flooding incident line on 0300 2000 100.

The Driver & Vehicle Agency has closed all MOT test centres at 12.30 pm today. Staff will be in contact with customers to re-arrange appointments.

“Road users should consider if the journey is absolutely essential then follow the advice in The Highway Code NI to adapt driving to the weather conditions.

“High-sided vehicles are most affected by windy weather, but strong gusts can also blow a car, pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist or horse rider off course. This can happen on open stretches of road exposed to strong crosswinds, or when passing bridges or gaps in the hedges.

“In very windy weather your vehicle may be affected by turbulence created by large vehicles. Motorcyclists are particularly affected, so keep well back when a motorcyclist is overtaking a high-sided vehicle.

“If your journey is essential, reduce your speed, stay well behind the vehicle in front, remain focused and always wear your seatbelt.

“Advice for road users in all adverse weather conditions can be found at: ​www.nidirect.gov.uk/publications/driving-adverse-weather-conditions-leaflet.

The department will continue to work with other emergency responders to manage any weather impacts.