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Traffic calm calls in Markethill as fears voiced for children going to new play park beside busy road

'This is a wide road. It's rather like a dual-carriageway with a hard shoulder on both sides of it. It tends to have a very heavy volume of speeding traffic'

Calls have been made for some form of traffic calming measures on the Mowhan Road in Markethill ahead of the opening of a new state-of-the-art play park.

The facility is scheduled to finally get up and running in the coming months.

But Ulster Unionist Alderman Jim Speers fears for the safety of young people in the area, particularly with both Markethill Primary and High Schools in the vicinity and with the increased number who would be expected to go there to use the new facilities.

He raised those concerns at Monday night’s meeting of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s leisure services committee.

And Councillor Speers has asked that the matter be brought to the attention of the relevant authorities to see what can be put in place.

He told the committee: “This is a wide road. It’s rather like a dual-carriageway with a hard shoulder on both sides of it.

“It tends to have a very heavy volume of speeding traffic. I know there have been changes in the legislation about school car parks and school traffic and the speed of traffic outside schools at particular times.

“I would ask that officers bring forward a report in relation to that.

“I have asked the Roads Service in the past to have a look at it with a view to having traffic calming or putting some device to slow the traffic down.

“Anyone that knows the location knows that it is an ideal location for moving fast on a wide road as you depart Markethill.

“And with this new development of the playing field and park and the kids on the road and two schools it is going to add great difficulty or greater danger to the road users and particularly the young people who are likely to be around that location.

“I think it’s a discussion we need internally with council officers and indeed with Roads Service because this scheme will be completed within the next couple of months and I’ve no doubt it will see more young people about that part of the town and the traffic will be flying.”

Alderman Speers said there was also “quite a substantial amount” of lorries which used this road when attending the cattle mart.

“There’s a lot of fast moving traffic,” he added.

“I’d be worried about the safety of folk on that particular road if we’re not able to put in some mechanism whereby we control the speed to some extent.

“I would ask that that be looked at and if needs be correspondence forwarded to PSNI and Roads Service with a view to looking at the wider picture here.”

Councillor Catherine Nelson, who chaired the committee, said she was happy to “chat” with Alderman Speers on the issues and if the committee felt it necessary they could send correspondence to both the PSNI and the Department for Infrastructure, which has responsibility for such matters.

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