A move to improve road safety at one of the most dangerous junctions in Northern Ireland, which has claimed lives in the past in road accidents, was roundly welcomed on Monday night.
Part of the notorious Woodgreen crossing on the A26 Lisnevenagh Road dual-carriageway between Antrim and Ballymena is to be blocked up by roads bosses for at least at a year as part of a trial.
Councillors, on Monday night, welcomed the steps.
In a letter to Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, Jonathan Stirling of Traffic Management, said: “In 2016, DFI-Roads proposed to prohibit the right turn out of the Woodgreen Road, Kells, northbound onto the A26.
“At the time this was met with a number of objections. Following further consultation and explanation all but three of the objections were withdrawn.
“After careful consideration of the options and resources available, DFI-Roads is still of the opinion this directly targets the causation factor of the collisions and is the best short-term option for improving safety at the junction.
“In recognition of the objections raised, however, it is proposed to implement the prohibition on an experimental basis for a period of at least twelve months, during which time representations can be made by the Department on the merits of making the prohibition permanent.
“As part of the scheme the central reserve, where motorists currently wait to join the A26 northbound carriageway, would be closed off but motorists travelling north from Antrim will still have the facility to turn right into Woodgreen Road.
“The facility to perform a U-turn manoeuvre just south of the junction will also be closed.
“New signage will be provided, remote from the A26 Lisnevenagh Road, to encourage motorists to utilize alternative routes to travel north, minimising disruption”.
The letter was tabled at a meeting of Mid & East Antrim Council attended on Monday night which was attended by ‘Ballymena Daily’.
Councillor Beth Adger (DUP), who lives close to the Woodgreen junction, said: “I’m delighted to see that at last something is being done.
“Over the years a lot of people have lost their lives at that crossing.
“If it saves one life surely we wouldn’t mind some inconvenience. I hope the work starts soon, we have lobbied long and hard for this to be done”.
Councillor Stephen Nicholl (Ulster Unionist) said everyone agreed something had to be done but he said it was a short term solution and he hoped it wasn’t too long before finance could be found to carry out a more permanent solution at the site.
Councillor Declan O’Loan (SDLP) said they needed to keep the pressure on for a proper solution at Woodgreen.