THE decision to close Kernan Road for resurfacing, at the same time as the Asda roadworks at Edenderry and Northway, is “causing mayhem” at that end of Portadown.
Even though the Roads Service is delaying the work until 9.15 in the morning and finishing at 4.30pm, Councillor Kenneth Twyble (UUP) has described the timing of the contract as “rather thoughtless, given the traffic jams that are frustrating motorists in that area of the town”.
He added, “The Asda organisation has been working for several weeks on the Northway and Watson Street approaches to their new store, due to open on November 19, with the result that traffic jams are building up in both areas.
“Northway is vital to the traffic flow around Portadown and long queues have been created thanks to the Asda work. There has been a variety of problems in Edenderry, including the roundabout and the fact that Bridge Street has been closed from the Bachelors Walk junction down to the roundabout. It has caused real problems, although they will end when the store opens.
“But, for the DRD to start re-surfacing Kernan Road on top of all that, beggars belief. The late start and early finish each day will help things, but they could have waited until the rest of the problems are resolved.”
Mr Twyble raised the issue when the council met representatives of Roads Service on Monday night, stating that the Kernan contract was exacerbating the Edenderry rush hour problems. He asked, “Is there any possibility of postponing work on Kernan Road to allow work at Asda to be finished first?” He added there had been real problems that very morning, affecting a wide area.
Reynold Nicholson of the Roads Service replied that restricted hours had been imposed on the contractor carrying out work at Kernan Road. From Tuesday onwards work could not be done before 9.15am and after 4.15pm.
“That will help things and we’ll just have to put up with it,” said Mr Twyble. “But it’s rather strange that I was the only councillor to raise the traffic jams issue. Some councillors seem to be in awe of Asda - for example, DUP and SDLP members were willing to sell them a piece of land at Watson Street last month at £25,000, even though it was worth £100,000. I found that hard to fathom.”
Asda have not commented on the lands issue, but Mr Frank Nolan, who is liaising with DRD on the roads contracts, said that everything they did was with the full co-operation and knowledge of the DRD. “We’ll be finished when the store is opened on November 19,” he added. “Obviously, we can’t do anything to the roads without the co-operation of the DRD.”
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