No immediate plans to bring one-way road

No immediate plans to bring one-way road

6 June 2018

ROADS officials have confirmed that they have no immediate plans to address traffic congestion at Edward Street in Downpatrick by introducing a one-way system.

Widely recognised as one of the town’s most log-jammed streets, Edward Street is home to a busy primary school and carries a significant volume of vehicles.

During a special briefing with local politicians last week, the area’s most senior roads official, Mr Simon Richardson, confirmed there was no urgent plan to deal with the congestion, despite concern about the presence of articulated lorries which are sometimes forced to mount the pavement as children make their way to and from Our Lady and St. Patrick’s Primary School.

Roads officials have outlined plans to upgrade the nearby Collins’ Corner junction where five roads converge.

Once work on the scheme has been completed, they will look again at Edward Street. Last year, a road widening and traffic calming scheme was completed at Fountain Street.

Downpatrick councillor Cadogan Enright said he was “surprised” a one-way system for Edward Street was not included in the programme of work roads officials have outlined across the district for the next 12 months. 

He argued that given the “very modest cost” of implementing the scheme and “overwhelming success” of a temporary one-way system which was put in place during a resurfacing scheme several years ago, the project should proceed.

“When the one-way system was introduced as part of a trial, there were nine objectors and over 300 people in support of it,” he said.

“There was also consultation on the way forward which, for some reason, only took into account the views of objectors.

“The enormous improvement in traffic in the whole area resulting from the success of the one-way system was simply undone by reverting to two-way traffic.”

Cllr Enright added: “While roads officials deserve praise for trying the one-way system in the first place and were commended on its fantastic success, we are left scratching heads over why it has not been implemented, given that to do so only requires a few signs.”

Mr Richardson said roads officials had frequently reported on their plans for short, medium and long-term solutions to Downpatrick’s traffic problems.

“We are going to improve the Collins’ Corner junction and this is very important for us. Universal agreement that the Edward Street scheme is a complete success is not what we are hearing,” he continued.

“Certainly, there are people in favour and people against this scheme. We do have to take on board the views of objectors, particularly those from the business community who are possibly objecting. “

Mr Richardson said roads officials were keeping the situation in Edward Street under review and that the scheme will be looked at again, once the work at nearby Collins’ Corner has been completed.