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Department urged to deal with ‘treacherous and impassable’ rural Armagh roads

Police ice weather
Police were dealing with a number of collisions across the county overnight and this morning

It warranted a quick peak beyond the curtains this morning, or perhaps that extra blanket, to see that freezing temperatures befell Co Armagh overnight.

As one reader put it to us on social media, when we shared a photo of the bitter aftermath of sub-zero temperatures on Sunday morning – ‘hard-hitting journalism’. That was a particularly frosty response to a delightfully wintry scene in Richhill.

However, on a more serious note, questions are being raised once more about the state of the roads in south Armagh and rural parts of Newry.

Police even issued a particular caution to drivers to exercise extra caution in these areas – a yellow weather warning had been in place for counties Armagh and Down.

It prompted SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA, Justin McNulty, to call out the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) to address, what he described as “treacherous” roads in the Newry and Armagh area.

“My SDLP colleagues and I have been inundated with calls for help from people across the area, particularly on rural roads,” said Mr McNulty.

“Treacherous conditions on roads have been made worse by overnight freezing and challenges in gritting arterial roads. Very many people have been left unable to leave their homes, let alone navigate the roads in their cars.

“My offices are working hard to get grit piles delivered to impacted areas, to replenish grit boxes, and to ensure that roads on the gritting schedules are getting covered.

“With this weather expected to continue, I would encourage everyone to exercise extreme caution in the days ahead and to report any issues through to my offices so that we can get them sorted.”

It remains to be seen whether a Department, currently strapped for cash, will react in time.

Meanwhile, there were ‘no serious injuries’ following a single-vehicle road traffic collision in Waringstown this morning (Monday).

Police received a report of the incident, which occurred on the Banbridge Road, shortly before 10am, with officers attending to assist with traffic control in the area.

Police in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon said they were dealing with a number of collisions in the early hours, “mostly to do with the weather conditions”.

The Met Office said temperatures tonight will drop to  -4 °C and overnight temperatures will remain low for the foreseeable future with a slight reprieve coming on Wednesday, with the mercury levels not expected to dip lower than 3 °C!

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