‘Plans needed to head off repeat of traffic chaos’

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Plans must be put in place to avoid any repetition of the traffic “chaos” that gripped central Dromore a little over two weeks ago after a fatal collision on the A1 carriageway.

That’s according to Lagan Valley MLA Jonathan Craig, who reported widespread frustration among locals after diversions effectively brought Dromore to a standstill.

A 55-year-old man died and a woman was injured in the early-morning March 2 collision on the A1 between Banbridge and Dromore.

The man was driving one of two vehicles involved in the collision on the northbound carriageway near Halfway Road. The woman, driver of the second vehicle, was taken to hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.The accident happened at about 7.15am and both carriageways remained close until late afternoon, with southbound traffic diverted through Dromore.

According to Mr Craig, amid ready acceptance of the need to close the carriageway in the circumstances, many locals were appalled by the resulting town centre gridlock. not least the volume of heavy goods vehicles funneled along roads too narrow and/or too steep to easily accommodate them.

Said Mr Craig: “Regarding taffic diversions which took place due to an unfortunate and indeed tragic accident on the A1 dual carriageway, it was unfortunate that there was such severe traffic chaos within Dromore while the carriageway was closed.

“I think everyone understands the need for the road to be closed under the circumstances, when police need to collect forensic evidence, but what was unacceptable was the diversionary route specified for heavy goods vehciles who found themselves having to use roads that were unsuitable for such traffic.

“It was described to me as having brought the town to a standstill.”

Mr Craig said he had raised public concerns with the local police commander and indeed with Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin.

“He (Mr Martin) accepted there was a high volume of traffic congestion and he has promised to have the diversionary routes reviewed. I am awaiting the outcome of that review to see if there are more appropriate diversionary routes that can be chosen in the even of any future need.”

Given what he sees as the sad likelihood of similar accidents in future, Mr Craig said he hoped the review would in some way rectify the problems arising due to the closure of the carriageway.