Downpatrick Traffic Issues Discussed At Meeting With Roads Service

The issues of the Downpatrick traffic system have been at the forefront for years as motorists struggle with poor traffic flow through County Down’s provincial town. Local politicians recently met with DRD Road Service officials to chart the way ahead.

South Down MLA Chris Hazzard has welcomed a preliminary briefing from Roads Service officials on traffic management in Downpatrick ahead of a final report in the summer.

[caption id="attachment_43874" align="alignleft" width="390"]Local politicians met with the DRD Roads Service to discuss traffic management in Downpatrick. Local politicians met with the DRD Roads Service officials to discuss traffic management in Downpatrick.[/caption]

Mr Hazzard said: “I am pleased that Roads Service have agreed to re-examine traffic issues in relation to Edward Street and John Street congestion.

“Sinn Féin has long campaigned for this issue to be resolved and look forward to proposals later in the year.

“It is also hugely positive to learn that Roads Service and the PSNI have begun to explore a town centre one-way-system based around the Irish Street car park. If planning and costing can be agreed as soon as possible it will be a boost for traders in Irish Street and Market Street and will allow shoppers easier access to shops.”

Mr Hazzard stressed that “too many studies in recent years have not translated into real infrastructure projects on the ground.” And he has insisted that attainable objectives are agreed in partnership with community representatives going forward.

He said: “We need to see ambitious plans that meet the needs of current traffic levels, and also help create a platform for much needed investment and growth in the Downpatrick area.

“For too long Roads Service has ignored the aims of the Down Area Plan that clearly identifies Downpatrick as a key regional hub with a population of 25,000.

“Any comprehensive roads report needs to reflect this ambition. Its not good enough to address only what traffic issues we face today; we must also plan five and ten years in advance to help build a thriving Downpatrick for the next generation,” added Mr Hazzard.

McGrath Welcomes Traffic Plans But Warns There Is Much To Be Done

Downpatrick councillor Colin McGrath (SDLP)  has also welcomed the recent meeting with senior Roads officials about traffic congestion in Downpatrick.

He said: The matter of road congestion, long queues in the town centre and beyond and constant snarl-ups has gone on too long and I welcome the work that Roads officials have undertaken to address these issues

“Whilst I attended an update meeting plans are well developed to introduce one-way systems, new roads and junction upgrades at key town junctions that will alleviate pressure and reduce commuting time through the town.

“Downpatrick is identified by government as a hub-town and as such should see its population grow in the years ahead. The key to delivering this will be an appropriate infrastructure and roads are critical in this regard.

“There may be  no quick fixes to the roads problems in our town, but  there is a concerted effort to address these matters and I welcome the progress to date.”