Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Concern over hazardous conditions on untreated roads

Local politicians have voiced concern at the hazardous driving conditions experienced on some roads during the icy weather conditions on Thursday night and Friday morning last.

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty claims some roads were left untreated or were salted too early, resulting in “treacherous” conditions for motorists.

Revealing that “numerous accidents” occurred, he says the icy surface led to one such incident on the Crossmaglen to Culloville Road.

“The road was in such a poor condition that the Ambulance Service personnel could barely stand up on the road.  This was putting the safety of both the Ambulance Service personnel and the patients they were trying to treat at risk.  This is completely unacceptable,” Mr McNulty said.

“The cold temperatures should have come as no surprise so there is no reason why the roads were not gritted and gritted adequately.  I have sought assurances this will not happen again and that our roads are adequately gritted in periods of cold weather,” he added.

Sinn Féin Councillors Barra Ó Muirí and Terry Hearty have urged Roads Service to ensure that “roads remain safe” for users.

Mr Hearty says parents leaving children to school on the Carrickrovaddy and Ballymoyer Roads on Friday morning encountered icy conditions which resulted in “multiple accidents”.

“This is an ongoing problem which myself and both school communities have constantly been campaigning to be addressed,” he said. “Ultimately the only real solution is for the stretches of roads around these schools to be included in the local salting network. After speaking again to both Principals I have requested Roads Service in the short term to leave ‘salt piles’ in the vicinity of the schools.”

Referring to an accident on the Culloville Road, Councillor Hearty queried the salting schedule: “This road was salted the night before but wasn’t repeated the following morning.  The road was extremely hazardous.  Surely there is an onus on Roads Service to ensure that this road is adequately salted?”

Meanwhile Ulster Unionist Councillor David Taylor says he has contacted Transport NI officials to raise concerns about gritting services provided in Newtownhamilton.

“Particular concerns have been highlighted about the hazardous conditions experienced on Blaney Road and Armagh Road.  Both roads carry quite a volume of traffic and would be used on a regular basis by local school buses,” Mr Taylor said.

“I have taken the opportunity to discuss this issue with Transport NI officials and I impressed upon them the need for the Newtownhamilton area to be thoroughly gritted in future to guarantee safety for road users during periods of adverse weather.”