Failure to grit leads to spate of accidents

Bocombra Road. INPT03-205
Bocombra Road. INPT03-205

At least 15 accidents took place in the Craigavon area on Monday morning as motorists attempted to negotiate a network of icy roads, many of them untreated.

Police were forced to issue warnings after cars slid into lampposts and ditches and many people experienced near-misses.

A Portadown man sustained bruising after he came off his motorbike at the Annagh bridge. His partner, who went to the scene afterwards, said the road was like a “skating rink”.

DRD Roads Service have admitted they did not start gritting in the southern area until 7am, when they became aware that temperatures had fallen to below freezing, in what they claimed was an “un-forecast dip in temperatures”.

Police confirmed that between midnight on Sunday and 12 noon on Monday, they received reports of 15 accidents in the area, 11 of them involving single vehicles, including an overturned van, and the remainder two vehicles.

In four of them, the occupants sustained injuries, mainly minor.

The roads where the crashes occurred were the Mullahead Road; Dungannon Road; Plantation Road, where there were two accidents; Newforge Road, Magheralin, where there were also two separate accidents; Lurgan Road; Monbrief East Road; Old Lurgan Road; Clare Road, Waringstown; outside Lismore Comprehensive; Drumgask Road, Lurgan; Moygannon Road, Donaghcloney; Cottage Road, Lurgan; and Knockmenagh Park, Portadown.

Across the province, there were 42 collisions from 6am-9am, with the Ambulance Service being called to 15 accidents. The normal collision call-out rate is 12-13 in a day.

On Tuesday morning, motorists reported that roads around Loughgall, Mullavilly and Markethill did not appear to have been gritted.

However, DRD said salting of roads on the scheduled network was completed on Monday night and began again early on Tuesday morning where required.