Armstrong: Action must follow coastal road survey

Alliance Councillor Kellie Armstrong has welcomed news the Department for Regional Development is to take action to tackle on-going flooding problems on the Portaferry Road.

The Strangford Assembly candidate said that while the move was ‘long overdue’, follow up action must be secured to ensure residents don’t have to again suffer the levels of flooding witnessed in recent weeks.

On Wednesday the Minister for Regional Development announced plans to conduct a survey to assess the current weaknesses in the A20 Portaferry coastal roads.

Kellie Armstrong said: “News that the DRD Minister has finally recognised something needs to be done about the Portaferry Road must be welcomed, and I look forward to seeing the results of the survey.

“However, I hope the Department’s efforts don’t stop there, as immediate follow up action will be needed to fix whatever problems are identified and I hope the Minister will be willing to invest the necessary capital to make this a reality.

“The Portaferry Road is a vital link road enabling people from all communities across the Peninsula to access employment, education, shopping and recreation. In recent weeks we have had a road collapse, continuous flooding problems and waves breaching the sea walls carrying debris into the path of vehicles. I have received more than 50 calls, been contacted by email and social media by local people concerned by the state of the Portaferry Road and the lack of urgency by central government to their plight.

“The extent of the problem can only be measured through a survey that not only looks at the state of the road but also includes the impact of coastal erosion. There are severely areas I am particularly concerned about where a collapse could happen again. The Minister must ensure the capital funding is in place to ensure local people don’t have their hopes built up, only to be dashed when the Minister fails to follow through.”

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