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Armagh city roads infrastructure ‘not far from breaking point’

People of Armagh would need to be “fairly and properly consulted” on the proposed one-way system through the Mall in the city.

The project include sections of the Portadown Road and Victoria Street as part of a one way system and councillor Gareth Keating said stated that TransportNI would have to “ensure that local people were fairly and properly consulted on the issue and that their views be central to the process and any decision on whether or not to develop the scheme”.

He added: “In terms of local traffic management it’s pretty obvious that doing nothing is not an option. With ever increasing numbers of vehicles on our local roads the infrastructure is not far from breaking point at times.

“If current trends continue a pace without major intervention of some sort, the prospect of travelling through town could become farcical.

“Having discussed the proposal with Roads Service, it is apparent that their traffic management experts have researched the idea in significant detail and that they believe there is merit in the scheme however there are huge implications involved in such a dramatic and fundamental change which must be fully considered and appraised before any such scheme could even be countenanced.
“No scheme of this magnitude can be without controversy and no doubt local feeling, both for and against the proposal will be feverent. Roads Service must therefore create the space and opportunity to engage with all local people and stakeholders and give them the opportunity to consider the details of the proposal and to then take account of their informed input.

In relation to other traffic management issues, councillor Keating said he has requested Roads Service to look closely again at the operation of the Friary Road junction.

The Mall, Armagh

The Mall, Armagh

“Failing a complete overhaul of the junction, I ask that the lights controlling traffic flow from the west of the city be reconfigured to permit more vehicles to pass through during the morning rush hour period, the vibility of which officers have agreed to test.”

Speaking after a meeting last week, an Armagh Council spokeswoman told Armagh I: “In 2009 the Armagh City Masterplan concluded that, not only did Armagh need the west and east link roads as soon as possible, but there was also a need to improve the internal road network, particularly around the Mall in the centre of the city.

“This was necessary to ensure that the city had a modern safe transport system, traffic congestion was reduced as much as possible, pedestrian and cyclist access was improved and that the city created an environment to allow businesses to expand and new businesses to develop.”

The spokeswoman confirmed that the council had been working closely with Transport NI since that time and had helped co-fund the research and options appraisal process for improvements to the internal road network.

She added: “We are pleased to see the research process now reaching a conclusion and that a safe, workable and modern traffic system in the city centre could become a reality.

“The council will be considering co-funding the new traffic system on the basis of economic development and, following a consultation exercise with the people of Armagh on the proposals.

“We would ask all the citizens of Armagh to engage with the consultation process now being organised for the new traffic management system around the Mall.”

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