Ford glad that Hightown Bridge has re-opened ahead of schedule

Alliance Leader David Ford has welcomed the opening of the new Hightown Bridge, but stressed that the closure for eight months had created unnecessary problems for the people of the area.

The South Antrim MLA said: “I am happy to add my congratulations to the contractor for the early completion of this scheme. The opening of the new bridge is very good news for the people of the Hightown, Hollybrook and Mayfield areas.

“However, this good news should not blind us to the failure of the Department of Regional Development to respond to the united voice of the local community that something should have been done to provide a temporary bridge during the building work. The so-called ‘alternative route’ round Sandyknowes was nothing short of a disgrace. No emergency vehicle could possibly have travelled through the frequent jams at an acceptable speed. I believe that it was good fortune, and not the behaviour of the Minister and his officials, which prevented serious problems from arising.

“Right through this summer, except for a few days during the Twelfth week, the BBC traffic unit has reported serious congestion at Sandyknowes. It is time for the Minister, Conor Murphy, and his officials to take proper action to reduce this congestion. He could start by re-balancing his budget towards public transport rather than road building.

“I suspect that within a year or two of the opening of the third lane from Sandyknowes to Greencastle, congestion on the M2 will be as bad as it was when the widening scheme started. That is why no other city in Europe is still trying to solve commuting issues by providing for the private car.

“In particular, there needs to be action on Translink’s proposed ‘park and ride’ beside the M2 at Templepatrick, rather than the ludicrous scheme suggested for the Ballyhenry Road, which would only serve a handful of vehicles, yet attract them to the congested area.”


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