Promises of station flyover causes rows

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The SDLP and Sinn Fein are at loggerheads over promises for a flyover at Lurgan train station.

The SDLP’s Upper Bann candidate Dolores Kelly said she had secured the backing of her party leader to lower the railway track through Lurgan and erect a low profile flyover.

However, Sinn Fein candidate Catherine Seeley rubbished her claims and accused Mrs Kelly of misleading the public.

Mrs Kelly said the barriers at William St could open and close up to 100 times a day holding up traffic coming and going from the M1.

“Essentially our proposal is to lower the railway track as it passes through Lurgan from Moira direction and to construct a low profile flyover in William Street. This is to be done in the context of an existing £4 million proposal which is already in the NI Infrastructure Plan (ISNI) to carry out major improvements at Lurgan Station starting next year.

“I have made it clear that the people of Lurgan and beyond want more than a new station waiting room and ticket office - the proposed improvements at the railway station must include the lowering of the track and a permanent solution to the congestion.”

She added that the station project will feature as a priority in the post-election negotiations around the Programme for Government. “If the SDLP secures the new Department for Infrastructure then I can guarantee the delivery of this project. And we will negotiate its delivery even if that Department ends up with a Minister from a different Party.

However, Catherine Seeley said: “The SDLP have claimed in their manifesto that they have secured an upgrade to Lurgan train station including a flyover to lessen traffic congestion by having it included in the NI Structural Development Programme (ISNI). This is not true as the only reference to Lurgan Railway station in the document is as follows ‘Lurgan Railway Station: The project scope is to upgrade passenger and staff facilities to the railway station to extend facility lifespan and improve accessibility.’

She added: “Individual parties cannot contribute to the strategy and the Department of Regional Development have only submitted the above clause in relation to Lurgan train station. The SDLP manifesto is uncosted and made up of wish lists they believe the public want to see when there is little or no chance of delivery. The SDLP need to be honest with the people and explain why they have misled them on this important issue. Sinn Féin will work for a full upgrade of the railway infrastructure while at the same time being honest.”