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Road safety concerns biggest challenge facing West Tyrone - Claim

Thursday, 10 August 2017

CONCERN has been expressed that the stance on road safety continues to be characterised by inaction, "miserably inadequate" funding and a refusal to acknowledge dangerous roads as one of the biggest challenges facing the West Tyrone area.

UUP councillor, Bert Wilson, has warned that unless something is done at a number of levels, it was going to take something like a road tragedy before action would be taken.

Cllr Wilson has been campaigning against spending cutbacks for roads in rural towns and villages in the area for a number of years now. He feels this area has been let down by the political deadlock at Stormont and as a result, no leadership in the Department for Infrastructure or lack of anyone in place to sanction badly needed spending on these vital roads.

"There are communities all over West Tyrone suffering because of the miserably inadequate funding coming down here due to inaction at so many levels. The deadlock in Stormont has had a knock on effect. There is no minister and no one to drive funding this way. Road safety is one thing that has been compromised as a result and I have to ask, is it going to take a tragedy to see action?"

The councillor said a long time campaign to get the Main Street in Gortin fixed had not achieved the required result. He said work carried out there in recent times had still some way to go.

"I have been lobbying to get Gortin Main Street done for almost two years now. I don't think there was a worse main street in the council's area with potholes and uneven surfaces. Some might have been caused by wear and tear but to be honest the centre of the street needed to be lowered, it is a couple of feet higher than the sides. I requested this be lowered and levelled off and I think while they took a bit off it, it wasn't enough. They told me they hadn't the money to do it."

He added while locals were happy to a point, the street still needed to be lowered further otherwise it was still dangerous. He said this was just one example of urgent road works needed to alleviate the dreadful driving conditions many motorists were experiencing on a daily basis.

"I have also been campaigning to have roads in places like Gortacastle and Glencullen fixed. The people out there have been waiting a long time for anything to happen and they deserve the same service as anyone else, after all I don't see the authorities refusing to take their rates or road tax money," he said.

A spokesman for the Department for Infrastructure said the work recently completed in Gortin was long awaited by local representatives and residents.

"It included reconstruction and asphalt resurfacing of 260m of the very poor surface along the main street which has significantly enhanced the appearance and the running surface of this stretch and should significantly reduce maintenance costs."

 He added: "West Tyrone has had an equitable share of the limited funding available. Recent substantial resurfacing works and other ancillary improvements along sections of roads include: B50 Omagh /Drumquin Road, Drumquin Village, B84 Dooish Road, B84 Barnscourt Road, B46 Galbally Road, A32 Tummery, A5 Great Northern Road, B122 Ecclesville Road, B46 Killymore Road, 1234 Camcosy Road.

 "Other smaller sections of resurfacing were completed along other minor routes the most notable include: Magheralough Road, Loughterush Road, Fingerpost Road, Scallen Road, Braden Road, Glen Road, Longhill Road, Tonagh Road,  B46 Dromore Road. Additionally minor patching was undertaken on many other roads as preparatory work for the current ongoing surface dressing programme. Footpath reconstruction was undertaken in Main Street Trillick, Tummery Houses, Edinburgh Park, McClay Park and Winters Gardens in Omagh."

 The spokesman added that further resurfacing was planned this year to include Ecclesville Road (Syonfin), Corradinna Road, Coolkeeragh Road, Farmhill Road, Old Mountfield Road and Whitehill Road.

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