The three-week consultation process prior to creating traffic changes in snarled-up Edenderry will start within the next fortnight.
If the reactions are positive, an 18-month experimental period will start early in March.
The changes would ban the current right turn from the Carrickblacker Road direction into Watson Street, and end the U-turn from the same direction towards Lurgan.
When the changes were being mooted at the end of 2014, divisional roads manager Simon Richardson said, “This adjustment will increase the green light time for the four main lanes in and out of town by a significant 70 per cent. Some 13,000 vehicles pass through Edenderry during any working day (8am-6pm) and just one per cent turn right from Carrickblacker Road into either Watson Street or towards Lurgan.”
The proposal comes after roads officials consulted with the community, which had been complaining that the new traffic lights system had caused more problems in Edenderry than they had solved.
It was claimed by some that the system was put in place for the benefit of the giant Asda superstore, and not for the general motoring public, and that a new version of the Edenderry roundabout would have been the answer.
Other initial options had been considered – like squeezing two out-of-town lanes into Edenderry, and allowing separate movement at the Edenderry lights. But the right turn ban was deemed the most feasible and the simplest to introduce.
During the experimental period, it is anticipated there will be winners and losers. There will be emphasis on the effects on areas like Watson Street, Joseph Street, James Street and Bachelors Walk. And it is anticipated there will be improved traffic movement from the Gilford and Lurgan directions and in and out of Portadown town centre.
The most negative impact is likely to be Watson Street, with the ‘in’ right-turn banned, although the outwards traffic lights from the street will remain as at present.
Some 13,000 vehicles move through Edenderry Square in four directions each weekday from four directions – 24 per cent towards Carrickblacker Road; 27 per cent towards Lurgan (both out of town); 21 per cent from Lurgan; 26 per cent from Carrickblacker Road (both into town).
It is a complex problem and, if the consultations go as planned, the 18-month experimental period will be “tweaked” as necessary.