Another motorist has crashed into the Tullywiggan bridge, leaving a gaping hole in it just a year after “several thousands” were spent on repairs.
The listed stonework, which the Department of Regional Development [DRD], fixed most recently in 2014 has suffered vehicle damage on a number of occasions.
Due to the “commercial sensitivity” of that work contract, a spokesperson said they were unable to give an exact figure for mending it, but that “the cost of the repair would be of the order of several thousand pounds”.
There have been “two recorded accidents” at the site in the last three years, although this does not include incidents where no injury was reported.
The PSNI said they had received no reports in relation to last week’s damage - which is thought to have occurred on Tuesday or Wednesday, but the area has now been marked with cones.
Debris from what appeared to be a red car, was littered on the road beside the bridge, while stone work from the structure, a red wing mirror and also a light fixture from the car could be seen on the banks of the river below.
After discovering the recent damage, local man Robin Abbott has called for DRD, and its subsidiary TransportNI, to take action to prevent this happening again.
He told the Mail he would like to see the bridge widened alongside ongoing work at nearby Tullaghoge Fort, which he said will bring even more traffic to the area.
“It’s a blind corner,” he said.
“They did cut the trees down maybe about ten years ago, but they have all grown up now and you can’t see anything until you’re actually coming around and then by that time it’s too late.
“The bridge would need widened out,” he went on. “You have to give way to lorries or buses but you can’t see ‘til your actually coming up because of the S-bend in the road.
“I got caught out a couple of times,” he added.
“It would need straightened or widened and the trees cleared.
“They would need to [do something] with the heavy traffic if they are going to open up Tullaghoge Fort.
However, since the bridge has listed status TransportNI said it had no plans to widen it.
A spokesperson for the department said: “Tullywiggan Bridge on the B520 is a listed bridge.
“It has suffered vehicle damage on a number of occasions, the most recent repair was carried out in 2014.
“The stone used in the repair was sourced locally as is the usual practice in carrying out bridge parapet repairs.”
When questioned about whether it was possible to widen the bridge, they added: “There are no current plans to widen the road at present and given the ‘listed’ status of the bridge, any modifications to the structure of the bridge would require careful consideration.”