There have been calls for Mullinure in Armagh to be treated as a main route and included on the gritting schedule during ongoing water and roadworks in the city.
The matter had been raised by local SDLP Councillor Eamon McNeil in response to Transport NI saying it did not meet the criteria for inclusion.
Transport NI had written to Armagh City and District Council regarding earlier calls for Mullinure – which links the Portadown Road and Loughgall Road – to be gritted during frosty conditions.
Officials say that “substantial funding” is set aside to salt the main traffic routes across Northern Ireland and, as the are many roads, it was “simply not practicable or affordable” to salt them all, given the many other demands on Transport NI’s finite resources, much of them safety-related.
Transport NI says priority was given to salting the busiest roads and this formed the basis of the current policy.
It says that one of the key outcomes of the policy, which was accepted by the Northern Ireland Assembly, was that the practice of targeting its limited resources available for this service on the busier routes should continue.
In that context, present policy was to salt main through routes carrying more than 1,500 vehicles per day and, in exceptional circumstances, roads with difficult topography, carrying more than 1,000 vehicles per day.
In applying the criteria, buses got a high weighting – for example, a 30-seater bus was counted as 30 vehicles.
Transport NI says efforts were also made to ensure that small settlements of more than 100 houses had a salted link via the shortest route to the salted network.
Transport NI said it “regretted to advise” that Mullinure Road did not meet the criteria for inclusion in the schedule of salted routes.
Councillor McNeill felt the decision needed to be looked at again.
And he enquired whether the Mullinure Road had been or would be gritted during its use as a diversion route when roadworks were ongoing in Armagh, as there would be “increased traffic levels at those times”.
The council agreed to write again to Transport NI and raises these questions.
There is currently major roadworks and sewer laying schemes ongoing in Armagh.
The £3million programme of sewer improvement work is expected to be completed by spring 2016.
This overall programme of work also includes the upgrade of the existing Newry Road Wastewater Pumping Station in line with criteria set by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA
The first stage of the contract involved laying a sewer in the Lonsdale Road area and started in late October 2014.
Work moves on to the Loughgall road area, affecting the Loughgall Road to Alexander Road – via the Mullinure Hospital grounds.
The second stage involves sewer laying in the Scotch Street/Barrack Street area in conjunction with a road re-alignment scheme.
The third involves sewer laying in the remaining section of Lonsdale Road, from the junction of Railway Street towards the junction with College Hill.
It is expected that these stages two and three will be completed by summer 2015.
The fourth stage includes sewer laying in the Alexander Road, Mall West, Mall East, Newry Road and the remainder of Barrack Street and Scotch Street.
Work will start in the spring this year, with the major construction work expected to be completed by early 2016.
The fifth and final stage involves sewer laying in Railway Street and the Mall East.
Work will start at the end of 2015 and the entire programme of work expected to be completed by spring 2016
Detailed traffic management plans have been reviewed with Transport NI to try to minimise the impact of these works in the main arterial route through Armagh.
NI Water says it will continue to liaise closely with Transport NI to minimise disruption throughout this contract.
Customer queries should be directed to Waterline on 08457 440088.
Picture: Google Street View
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