News

Total gridlock!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

MAJOR roadworks are to be carried out simultaneously at the north and south end of Cookstown over the coming weeks, which locals fear will lead to total gridlock.

SGN Natural Gas begins roadworks on the Drum Road on 17th July in preparation for bringing gas to the west.

And NI Water is to carry out upgrading work to water mains, starting on the Moneymore Road on 18th July.

While the work is welcomed and essential, concerns have been expressed over the lack of consultation with local residents in both areas of Cookstown.

 

NI Water is currently engaged in an ongoing process of improving and upgrading the water supply infrastructure throughout Northern Ireland and are planning to commence work shortly in the Cookstown area.

This work is good news for the local area, as the upgraded water mains will improve the quality, reliability and security of the local water supply, while reducing leakage and improving pressure in the area.

Work is expected to commence on the Moneymore Road on the 18th July and will continue for approximately four weeks.

Work will start at the junction of Cedar Heights and will progress as far as the Lissan Road junction. In order to complete this work safely and efficiently, a lane closure will be in place for town-bound traffic with a diversion via East Circular Road and the Old Coagh Road. The work will be completed in sections to keep disruption to a minimum and diversion signage will be in place.

Unfortunately, on-street parking will be restricted throughout this programme of work. However, pedestrian access will be available at all times.

According to NI Water every effort will be made to restore access as soon as possible each evening and we would like to thank the public for their patience and cooperation while we complete this essential programme of work.

Derek Crabbe NI Water Project Manager told the Courier: "The scale of the ongoing watermains project has required extensive work on local roads. However, where possible, we will use state of the art low-dig technology throughout this programme of work which will enable us to lay many of the mains without the need to open large trenches.

"NI Water will continue to cooperate with the Department for Infrastructure and local stakeholders and will do everything possible to keep any disruption to a minimum. We will also work with Translink to ensure that public transport services function with minimum disruption." 

 

SGN Natural Gas have met with business representatives and local traders in Cookstown to outline plans for development works starting in the area this month as part of the 250million Gas to the West project.

A business information session facilitated by Mid-Ulster District Council, took place in the Glenavon House Hotel ahead of the commencement of major works scheduled to get underway on 17thJuly.

David Butler, Head of Engineering with SGN Natural Gas, reassured local traders that any disruption would be kept to a minimum during the construction of the new gas network in the Cookstown area.

Business and civicleaders also welcomed a commitment by SGN Natural Gas that no construction work would take place in the main trading centres and on arterial routes during the Christmas period, traditionally the busiest time of the year for local retailers.

Mr Butler said: "We are delighted to be progressing with the development works scheduled to begin in the Cookstown area on 17th July and,we are fully committed to completing these works with minimum disruption. We will continue to consult and engage with our stakeholders and the local community, businesses and residents throughout the project.

"We are looking forward to connecting our first customers in Cookstown in the winter of 2018, with a view to rolling gas out across homes in the area in 2019."

The initial routes which will see development work carried out will be the Drum Road, A29 Cookstown Road (Moneymore) and Cavan Road with the programme of works progressing through the town via A29 Dungannon Road, Strifehill Road, Sandholes Road, Killymoon Road, Birchgrove / Lomond Heights, Clare Lane, Molesworth Road / Street, Union Street, Old Coagh Road and East Circular Road.

The pipe laying work within the Cookstown area will be carried out on a phased basis and is estimated to last approximately 10 months, followed by a testing and commissioning phase which will have minimal impact.

 

Cookstown Cllr Trevor Wilson said locals were fearful the combined roadworks at at the north and south ends of the town will cause much disruption and traders have also expressed serious concerns.

According to the UUP Councillor, businessess in the town were consulted over the works, but no approach was made to residents.

Cllr Wilson told the Courier: "While these schemes are welcomed, local residents are concerned that they have not been consulted over the planned works which will affect where they live and park. The first residents in the northern end of the town knew of the planned works was through illuminated signs on the Moneymore Road!

"The roadworks at both ends of Cookstown will mean lane closures and detours and there will be major traffic disruption.

"The local feeling is that these schemes could have been staggered instead of starting at the same time. It is going to create total gridlock in Cookstown.

"It is interesting that when Mid-Ulster District Council was discussing Cookstown's public realm scheme, all the major utilities were contacted and not one mentioned these major roadworks which were obviously in the pipeline for the town."

A traders' Town Centre Forum meeting was held on Friday last to discuss the matter. Police locally are also being requested to help with traffic management throughout the period of the roadworks.

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