Loss of business experienced by traders as a result of roadworks in Armagh, now two months overdue, is to be raised directly with the recently-appointed Finance Minister Arlene Foster.
Roads Minister Danny Kennedy has confirmed that the Friary Road and Newry Road junction works will be completed in June.
And, while a completion date has been welcomed, Newry and Armagh Sinn Fein MLA Cathal Boylan says something must be done to help the city traders who have suffered.
He raised his concerns directly with Minister Kennedy during Assembly Question Time.
Mr Boylan said: “I have asked the Minister for an update for a completion date for these works and also what plans, if any, were in place to assist the local businesses who have suffered financially due to the ongoing improvements.
“With the road improvements scheme still underway at the Friary Road/Newry Road Junction in Armagh City, business owners have reported a loss in trade and have voiced that these roadworks are clearly putting people off visiting their premises, with business owners noting that trade has plummeted since works began.
“Lack of car parking facilities has had a detrimental effect on pedestrian footfall at this side of the town.
“One business owner voiced concerns that trade had been ‘killed’ by the roadworks and traffic restrictions put in place.
“These roadworks are now two months past their completion date. Whilst I understand and welcome the improvements these works will undeniably bring, it is worrying that the people of Armagh are suffering in the meantime. The inconvenience, disruptions and traffic congestion has been a bone of contention with both road users and businesses alike.
“I welcome the Minister’s completion date given as early June and I am sure that motorists, cyclists and businesses will breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the reduced congestion will lead to more reliable journey times and traffic flow.
“However, it is simply not good enough that businesses in this area will have to endure an additional couple of weeks of inconvenience and difficulties.”
The Sinn Féin MLA, who has raised these concerns with the Minister on previous occasions, has now vowed to highlight this loss of business and trade with DFP Minister Arlene Foster.
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