Pedestrians are dicing with death on the Cookstown Road in Moneymore, with increasing volumes of traffic on a road “unfit for purpose”, Ulster Unionist councillor George Shiels has claimed.
The Mid Ulster politician said because of the success of the Magherafelt bypass the traffic arrives in the village en masse, and this is creating an increasing problem through the village.
“What motorists don’t realise is that the road they are travelling on may be in danger of collapsing at any moment,” he claimed. “Pedestrians on the other hand are literally dicing with death on a roadway not up to Third World standard in my opinion.
“Of course I am no expert, but I have observed massive cracks in the parapet of the bridge, which may or may not be superficial, where the road starts to climb towards the dual carriageway. There is no doubt though, that horrendous damage has occurred on the roadway and on the footpath between the Stewartstown road junction and the bridge I describe.
“In places the damage seems to extend through the hedges and fences continuing into the curtilage of the properties. There is a footpath serving the bridge but its width is barely wide enough to accommodate a sparrow, never mind a mother with a child and let’s say, a dog on a lead.”
A Department for Infrastructure (DFI) spokesperson said, “The parapet cracks referred to are historic cracks that engineers have been monitoring for some time and there are no signs of any deterioration.
“In 2015 a full structural assessment was carried out on the bridge in Moneymore. The assessment found the bridge was capable of carrying 40 units of HA loading which means it can carry HGV traffic up to current permitted European loadings for normal traffic.
“The Department for Infrastructure is currently considering the recommencement of the development of the A29 Cookstown Bypass. Progression of this development work will however be dependent on the availability of finance."
He added that a bypass for Moneymore will be considered on a priority basis along with other proposed schemes elsewhere in the province as part of the Strategic Transportation Network plan.”