Killyleagh Road Bridge Is Accident Blackspot

Brown concerned at repeated accidents at Killyleagh Road bridge

Brown concerned at repeated accidents at Killyleagh Road bridge

In recent years there have been a number of vehicles crashing into the Killyleagh Road bridge causing significant damage.

Mostly the vehicles have been approaching from the Killyleagh direction, but damage has occurred at both ends of the bridge.

In the past year there have been several crashes into the bridge.

The Killyleagh Road bridge is increasingly coming under the spotlight following a number of vehicles crashing into the walls causing significant damage. (Photo: Jim Masson)

Alliiance MLA Patrick Brown said: “Collisions at this location have been a long running problem and it is not acceptable to simply continue to patch up the bridge each time damage occurs.

“Whilst any new speed reduction measures are welcome, £14k over the last 6 months is an unacceptable amount to be paying out for avoidable repairs, especially at a time when public finances are already stretched.

“The Department needs to urgently commission a study into how the bridge can be widened and made safer for drivers and pedestrians alike.

“Not only will this improve safety, but it will also enhance the Quoile area, opening it up for walkers and improving important linkages across a beautiful part of the district.”

A Volkswagen car is lifted onto a car trailer after crashing into the KIllyleagh Road bridge in Downpatrick.

A spokesperson for the Department of Infrastructure said: “The Department is aware of two separate collisions during 2022 that caused damage to the bridge structure over the River Quoile on the Killyleagh Road.

The first occurred in August 2022 and was repaired at a cost of approx. £7k, and the second occurred in December 2022 with estimated repair cost to be in the region of £7k.

“A traffic assessment of this location was completed in November 2022 to ascertain if any additional measures should be provided.

Although there are various road safety measures already in place, the Department intends to further introduce enhanced warning signs, retroreflective road studs, additional “SLOW” markings and reflective marker posts as soon as practicable.

“The cause of traffic collisions are a matter for the PSNI.”

The spokesperson added: “Following recent collisions at the Killyleagh road bridge, the Department plans to carry out a fresh traffic survey at the location which will separate vehicles by their classification type i.e. cars, HGV’s etc.”

Enright Calls For New Killyleagh Road Bridge

Downpatrick Alliance Councillor Cadogan Enright has thanked DfI Roads for once again repairing collision damage on the Quoile Bridge on the old Belfast Road, but he is seeking reassurance over the replacement of the bridge in line with the more recently completed Kilmore Bridge.

The Alliance Councillor said: “The bridge in Kilmore was replaced with two traffic lanes and pavements on both sides of the road on account of how dangerous their old bridge was to cross.

“There is far more traffic on our Quoile Bridge here in Downpatrick. I have asked for a comparison between the 2 situations and an explanation of how DfI Roads feel that Downpatrick’s Quoile bridge is less dangerous than Kilmore.

Cllr Cadogan Enright at the site of the Killyleagh Road bridge which receives regular damage from vehicles.

“It took longer than usual to complete these works and I can see they have fixed separate collisions on both sides of the bridge. This is not the first time I have seen that happen.

“We had a ‘both sides’ repair 4 years ago. This demonstrates how common collisions are on this bridge and there is no pavement to provide some shelter for pedestrians”.

Councillor Enright added: “The Downpatrick bridge also needs to be considered within the context of the Down Area Plan.

“There is a clear need for the proposed Eastern Distributor Road to cross the river at this point. This is the ‘by-pass’ for Downpatrick and will connect from the Downe Hospital to the Finnebrouge and Belfast Roads.

“It should relieve congestion on the Saul Road, Strangford Road and Ballyhornan roads and take though traffic out of the town centre.

“I am looking for reassurance that DfI Roads are assessing the role of the Quoile bridge both from the safety issues as in Kilmore as well as its strategic long-term role.

“DfI roads have told me they are aware of the various collisions that have occurred at Quoile Bridge. They are currently carrying out a collision remedial review for the Down Area and this review will identify collision cluster sites over the past 3 years.

“When this review is completed they say they will then be able to check these sites to determine the causes and factors associated with these collisions and from that what engineering measures if any can be looked at.”

“I am not content with this response as it suggests that there are no strategic plans to develop the route long-term as envisaged in the Down Area Plan.

“This is not just a matter of health and safety as in Kilmore. We need to ensure the bridge if fit for purpose to help facilitate the delivery of the Eastern Distributor Road and finally deal with Roads congestion generally in Downpatrick,” added Councillor Enright.