Road closure hits trade in Tobermore

Roadworks on the Desertmartin / Tobermore Road.INMM0715-399
Roadworks on the Desertmartin / Tobermore Road.INMM0715-399

A businessman claims his trade has dropped by 60 per cent since work started on a £1m upgrade of the busy A29 Tobermore to Desertmartin road.

Derek McClenaghan says his chippy relies heavily on passing trade from the hundreds of vehicles using the busy A29 route each day.

“I feel cut off from the rest of the country and I’m looking out at a hedge and empty road,” he said. “If this keeps up I will have to close.

“I have no choice but to keep the pans heated in case a customer comes through the door as to turn them off would mean that the customer would have to wait 40 minutes for food.”

Several other businesses along the Desertmartin Road also understood to have suffered a downturn in trade owing to the works which are expected to last for another few weeks.

Mr McClenaghan, who has been in business for over 36 years, stressed that he and other shop owners still had their overheads to meet.

DUP Mid-Ulster MLA Ian McCrea is writing to the Roads Minister Danny Kennedy to ascertain if traders’ who are adversely affected by the roadworks, are entitled to compensation for loss of revenue.

Sympathising with the business owners, Mr McCrea said he hoped the Minister would consider the points he raises in his letter.

While welcoming the roadworks, involving the removal of bends at Killytoney, Mr McCrea said the plight of traders should be taken into account.

“I’ve also received complaints from residents at Wood Road and Rectory Road areas regarding damage caused by diverted heavy vehicles.”

TransportNI spokesperson said: “Work to reconstruct around 1.15Km of carriageway on the A29 Tobermore Road, Desertmartin represents an investment of approximately £1m in the Magherafelt Council area. Work began in mid November and the scheme is expected to be completed next month.

“To help ensure the safety of road users and contractors it is necessary to operate temporary traffic control during the course of the improvements. It was also necessary to close the road on 2 February, and it is expected to reopen on 15 March.

“Disruption during the work is unavoidable, however, once the scheme is complete it will provide a safer and less demanding environment for all road users.”

A TransportNI spokesperson said to ensure the safety of road users and contractors it was necessary to close the road until March 15.