Street lighting work to begin in Castlewellan

Street lighting work to begin in Castlewellan

18 March 2020

WORK on a major new street lighting scheme in Castlewellan starts next Monday.

The Department for Infrastructure is investing £100,000 installing 32 new LED lights along the town’s Main Street.

News of the investment comes after the Recorder revealed in January that almost 550 street lights are currently not working in East Down, plunging many areas into darkness.

At the time, the Department for Infrastructure confirmed that due to budgetary pressures it was only able to provide a limited repair service but since the restoration of the Stormont Executive, cash has been find to help address the issue.

At the end of January, Downpatrick topped the league table for broken street lights in East Down with 132 in need of repair, with Newcastle sitting in second place. Across the resort, 83 street lights are not working.

Elsewhere, 40 faults have been reported in Killyleagh, with 34  brought to the Department’s attention in Castlewellan and Crossgar. In Saintfield, 27 faults have been reported.

In Ballygowan, 32 street lights are currently out of order with 21 and 19 faults reported in Ardglass and Killough respectively.

Sixteen street lights are out of order in Dundrum with 11 faults reported in Drumaness. The figures for the Spa and Clough are 11 and nine respectively.

This week, Stormont infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon confirmed that work to install the new street lights in Castlewellan will be carried out in two phases.

Phase one starts next Monday and will continue until Thursday, April 9, while phase two is scheduled to start on Monday, April 20 and conclude on May 11.

Ms Mallon said she has made clear her commitment to address the issues which matter most to the people of Northern Ireland. 

“Street lighting services are crucial in ensuring those driving, cycling and walking can do so safely within their communities,” the minister continued.

“This investment provides new LED technology along Castlewellan Main Street. It is important that adequate street lighting not only improves the quality of lighting but is more energy efficient given my commitment to climate action.”

The government department has confirmed that during work on the scheme, a traffic management system will be in operation between 9.30am and 4pm and between 6pm and 10pm from Monday to Friday.

Roads officials say that they have programmed the work operations and traffic management arrangements to minimise inconvenience, but motorists are advised to expect some delays and to allow additional time when travelling in the area.

And in order to help ensure the safety of road users and contractors, drivers are asked to comply with all temporary traffic restrictions and to drive with extra care when travelling in the vicinity of the works.

News of the Castlewellan investment has been welcomed by South Down MLA Emma Rogan and Slieve Croob councillors Roísín Howell and Hugh Gallagher.

Ms Rogan said that the investment not only will provide the latest LED technology and improve the quality of lighting, but will also be much more energy efficient. She said “quality and adequate street lighting” in local towns is essential for businesses and traders as well as pedestrians and other road users.

Cllr Howell said while the investment is welcome, there are areas across the district awaiting street light repairs and have been for many many months. She urged Ms Mallon to make these a priority and ensure adequate investment is put into maintenance of street lighting. 

“Certain areas have had light outages for several months and local residents are feeling very vulnerable, she added.

Cllr Gallagher said the Castlewellan investment will “make a difference” and said it underscores the SDLP commitment to regionally balanced infrastructure.

He added: “I am delighted that Minister Mallon has made Castlewellan an early priority. There will be some 

disruption for the next few weeks as work gets underway but the Department has provided assurances that this will be managed as much as possible so that people can get where they need to go.” 

Roads officials say that completion of the work in Castlewellan by May 11 will depend on the progress of the scheme and favourable weather conditions.