Concern over ‘nightmare’ proposed road closure

Concerned Derry residents have hit out at a ‘nightmare’ proposed road closure that they say will lead to much ‘disruption’ and add extra journey time for services attempting to access the area.

The road will be closed due to water main replacement works.
The road will be closed due to water main replacement works.

The road from Oldbridge to Baird’s Road was closed for a period on Monday as watermain improvements got underway, despite affected residents being initially told the closure would be one lane only.

Following queries from residents, one lane was reopened but they were informed full closure for two weeks will begin on June 27. This had led to concerns over access for services like emergency and refuse vehicles and school buses, particularly as roadworks are also ongoing on the diversion route. A local resident whose child has a severe health condition has raised concerns about access for emergency services during the road closure.

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The resident said: “The total road closure will add on miles to the journey of any emergency vehicle and extra vital time to their response. There are also major roadworks happening on the diverted route, which will also have an impact on response times. There was no consultation or communication with residents about a total road closure and I believe it will put the safety of my child and any other resident who finds themselves in an emergency at risk.

“There seems to have been no consideration to the needs of residents living here when the DFI granted a total road closure, instead of the lane closure that we were informed of.”

Another resident described the closure as a ‘nightmare’ and said those who maintain their estate say they won’t be returning until the works are complete.

NI Water responded: “A section of the Trunk Main is currently being laid along Woodside Road, leading to Irish Street, and on Monday 13 June the team moved to a new section of pipelaying on the road. Only one lane of traffic was scheduled to be closed, but unfortunately due to unforeseen ground conditions and the location of existing services at this location, a full road closure is now necessary to complete this section whilst protecting the safety of the public and our workforce. To minimise disruption with reduced school traffic, a full road closure will be in place from June 27 for two weeks. Residents will receive an update this week with full details of the closure and any further planned works and traffic management throughout the Summer.

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“The road was closed briefly on Monday to conduct trial holes, and reopened under a traffic light control system to ensure residents had full access to their properties.”

They added that they and contractor Farrans GlanAgua Construction ‘notified customers about the overall scheme at the end of March,’ and provided an update on May 25.

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NI Water added that they will continue to liaise with residents to ensure access for emergency vehicles and other services and that Translink and other stakeholders have also been updated.