Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is to tell the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) a Craigavon footbridge due to be removed later this month must be replaced.
At Council’s monthly meeting on Monday, February 27, councillors were provided with correspondence from DfI advising Moylinn East footbridge is “beyond economic repair”.
It goes on to explain DfI plans to remove the footbridge from Thursday, March 16 at 7pm to Monday, March 20 and 7am and claims “an alternative wheeling/walking/cycle link will be provided to facilitate users while a permanent solution is developed”.
Sinn Fein group leader, Councillor Liam Mackle said Council needed to respond to the letter making it clear “we would want that bridge replaced as soon as possible”.
“I know we have made representations in person to the department but it would be a good idea to formally respond to this correspondence and let DfI know it is imperative the bridge is replaced as soon as possible,” he said.
This proposal was seconded by Alliance Party group leader, Councillor Peter Lavery who acknowledged the concern among Craigavon residents at the though of losing a bridge in this location and said it “is only right to get a footbridge back in place as speedily as possible”.
SDLP councillor Ciaran Toman said he agreed with the comments made so far but noted the letter spoke of an online presentation to be given to the Council regarding the bridge’s removal on Thursday, February 16.
He asked if the meeting had taken place and was advised by Council’s interim strategic director of neighbourhood services, Jonathan Hayes the presentation was delivered to local councillors who also confirmed a response would be sent to DfI.
“When officers became aware of this matter, a meeting with local councillors was held to brief members in relation to the circumstances around the bridge in question,” said Mr Hayes.
“I am happy to take members comments on board and, in relation to the actual time scales associated with the removal of the bridge, we can get further clarification from the department and then feed that back to all members.”
Alderman Kenneth Twyble said he was happy to be associated with the comments made so far and told the chamber his major concern “is about the children going to school and crossing the road and so on not having to do the big round journey” that has been put forward as a alternative route while a permanent solution is developed.
“It is important the bridge is replaced and not just removed,” he said.
Siin Fein councillor Catherine Nelson said sending a message from Council expressing the united view that the bridge needs replaced is “the right thing to do for young people, dog walkers and those who use the South Lake Leisure Centre”.