Introduction of new one-way road system

Introduction of new one-way road system

10 October 2018

ROADS officials have unveiled plans to introduce a one-way system at Racecourse Hill in Downpatrick.

The move comes after residents in the area complained about the increasing number of vehicles using the narrow road linking the Killough Road and Ardpatrick with Lower Stream Street where there is only a small section of footpath along one side of the road.

Confirmation a one-way system will be introduced comes after roads officials held a series of meetings with the Stream Street Residents’ Association and Downpatrick councillor Cadogan Enright.

Association chairman Peter Smyth said Racecourse Hill had become an “unofficial bypass” for drivers wishing to avoid the Collins’ Corner junction where five roads converge.

“We have consulted extensively with residents and have been working to resolve this issue for a number of years,” he explained.

“We need to make the passage from Ardpatrick and the Killough Road down Racecourse Hill safe before someone gets killed.”

Local resident Marie O’Neill, who lives on the corner of the junction and who is acutely aware of the issue, said it was important for roads officials to see what people had to put up with every day. 

“This used to be a sleepy little-used road, but is now often as busy as the main Killough Road but with no pavement. It is turning into death-trap with difficult turning circles that intrude on pedestrians and oncoming traffic,” she explained.

“The meeting with roads officials took place at 8.45am so they were able to see the situation for themselves with everybody having to demonstrate nimble footwork, diving out of the way of oncoming traffic.”

Cllr Enright said the pavement currently ran only half way up Racecourse Hill and the road was not wide enough for two-way traffic.

“Roads officials have agreed to a one-way system which will allow vehicles to drive down the hill when a new pavement is in place. Traffic calming measures will also be provided to ensure vehicles do not race down the hill. I have been informed that they now plan to include the project in their budget for next year.”

Cllr Enright said the build-up of traffic on the minor road was triggered by the development of the new public sector campus at the Downshire Civic Centre which is home to Newry, Mourne and Down Council, the Fire and Rescue Service, Housing Executive and Downe Hospital.

He added: “The expected investment in roads improvement for the campus never took place with the focus being on the Newry end of the council area.

“The ring road to the public sector campus currently peters out in open country around Struell Wells. Unless the infrastructure deficit is sorted in Downpatrick, issues like the one at Racecourse Hill will keep popping up.”