Traffic lights get the blame for rush-hour gridlock in Cookstown


The traffic situation in and around Cookstown seems to have compounded in recent weeks, with cars queued as far back as Loughry College during the busiest periods.

But despite Transport NI having been notified of the increasing problem, nothing appears to have been done, with some motorists saying it was as bad as they had ever seen it last Friday.

“The traffic stretched as far back as Loughry College,” one commuter told the Mail. “I have never seen it as bad.”

Others have taken to Facebook page Whinge Cookstown to voice their concerns about the increased traffic, which has seen drivers queued to get into town for up to two hours.

“Traffic lights at ASDA are a joke - the tail backs are past the college on the Dungannon Road,” one motorist said.

While business owner Mark Simpson said the situation is seriously impacting on his customers, who struggle to get in and out of Cookstown Tyre Safety Centre.

“It seems very clear that the light sequence for the main traffic flow in front of our building is not correct,” he told the Mail.

“Although somehow it is not so clear to the people that are empowered with setting the sequence - traffic in front of our premises has been backing up for some time now.”

And he is worried it might mean losing out on business.

“Our customers struggle to turn right out of our premises to drive up into the town and in most cases just turn left and don’t bother... straight away a loss of footfall passing through the town centre.

“It may have our customers thinking twice about visiting us in the busier times of the day (but) first and last thing in the day are a no go.”

But it’s not just Mark’s business affected, as he also happens to live next door.

“Living next door, it is also clear that this is not just a business hours issue,” he added. “The traffic is down beyond the roundabout until after 6.30pm. The queue is constant and is bad for most of the evening and on weekends also. Getting out of my house to do school runs etc is very dangerous.”

UUP councillor Trevor Wilson, said he contacted TransportNI about the situation, which he said doesn’t appear to have improved.

“They acknowledge there is a problem and have asked Siemens to investigate,” he told a member of the public on Facebook in March. Since then he has taken up the case.

“The shop keepers are complaining because of people trying to get out of their entrances. It used to be at busy times, but now it’s all the time,” he explained.

“It’s intolerable for motorists that this has been happening over the past number of weeks.”

A spokesperson for Transport NI said: “TransportNI has been made aware of an issue with queuing on the A29 Church Street, Cookstown in the vicinity of its junction with Sweep Road.

“A fault with the traffic signals was identified and repaired, and arrangements have been made with our contractor to undertake a further investigation of the operation of the traffic signals”.