Untreated town paths ‘like ice-rinks’

A snow and ice covered BAnbridge Town Centre. INBL49-COLD7
A snow and ice covered BAnbridge Town Centre. INBL49-COLD7

Untreated footpaths in and around the district were labelled treacherous as black ice formed during the freezing conditions last week.

Frustrated people reported hazardous conditions with Bridge Street and Newry Street being particularly bad.

The conditions were so bad police issued an appeal to locals asking everyone to travel with extreme care either on foot or driving.

They urged special caution to people using the car park beside the public toilets at Solitude park be “very very careful” describing it as being like an “ice rink”.

Responding to local people Councillor Joan Baird said untreated pavements were due to “complications in the law”.

“Year after year”, she said, “we have the same discussion and everyone blames the council.”

She added: “It is not a duty of the council’s to salt the pavements. Roads Service’s duty is to keep the main throroughfares open.

As far as I am aware the department for roads are over spent in their budget and they must continue to keep roads open.”

A spokesperson for Banbridge District Council explained it has “no responsibility for gritting either roads or pathways, however DRD Transport NI(formerly Roads Service), who undertake the gritting of roads, has an agreement with the council that in certain circumstances of extreme, prolonged snow and ice conditions, the council “may assist with the clearance of certain prescribed town centre footpaths”.

They added: “This work would only be carried out by council at the request of DRD in exceptional weather conditions to avoid very prolonged disruption of footpath access in and around town centres, such as the situation that arose several years ago when temperatures remained below freezing continually for several weeks.”