Delight over confirmation for new road crossing

Delight over confirmation for new road crossing

4 September 2019

A LONG campaign to enhance pedestrian safety in the centre of Killyleagh has reached a successful conclusion.

Roads officials have confirmed that an existing pedestrian crossing in Catherine Street will be replaced by a new puffin crossing which will result in the provision of the town’s first ever traffic lights.

The existing pedestrian crossing is being moved further along the busy main road and will be installed as part of a new £400,000 environmental improvement scheme which will result in the provision of new street lights and furniture. Existing paths will also be upgraded.

Rowallane councillor Billy Walker — who has been lobbying for the existing pedestrian crossing to be upgraded — is delighted that it is finally going to happen.

“The scheme has been included in the Department for Infrastructure’s programme and will be installed as pat of the forthcoming environmental improvement scheme,” he explained.

“I am delighted that after years of lobbying, this much-needed scheme is finally now in the programme and will be delivered. I hope that it will be delivered as soon as possible, given the huge volume of traffic which passes through the centre of the town each day.”

Cllr Walker said a number of traffic surveys have been carried out over the years to determine the need for an upgraded crossing and is pleased that one is finally going to be delivered and will be paid for by the Department for Infrastructure.

“The importance of this puffin crossing cannot be highlighted enough,” he continued. “The new crossing will see the provision of Killyleagh’s first set of traffic lights which in itself is significant. The traffic lights will ensure drivers come to a complete halt while people are crossing.”

Cllr Walker said a number of people using the existing pedestrian crossing were hit by cars, while there were “countless near misses”.

“When people press the button on the new puffin crossing, traffic will stop immediately to allow them to cross safely. My thanks go to roads officials for finally agreeing that an upgraded crossing is necessary,” he continued.

“The biggest concern many in Killyleagh have is the speed of vehicles approaching Catherine Street from the Comber direction. The new puffin crossing will address this issue at what is a particularly busy main street which is notoriously difficult to cross, even with the presence of the current crossing.”

Cllr Walker said people need to be able to bring traffic to a halt so they can cross in safety. He is also delighted with the planned environmental improvement scheme and has no doubt it will have a positive impact on the town centre.

He added: “A number of similar schemes carried out in other towns and villages across the district have had a significant impact, helping restore pride and encouraging businesses and residents to spruce up their respective premises.”

A Newry, Mourne and Down Council spokesman confirmed the council was developing proposals to bring forward seven environmental improvement schemes across the district, one of which is proposed for Killyleagh. 

“It is anticipated that this will include upgrade works to pathways, street lighting and street furniture,” he explained.

“Implementation of the works is however subject to planning approval and the council being successful in an application for funding to the Rural Development Programme. It is anticipated that a decision will be known towards the end of 2019 and, if successful, the scheme is scheduled for implementation in 2020.”