STOP/GO boards allowing two-way traffic on the Cornagrade Road will finally come into effect today (Wednesday) at the Johnston Bridge, with work to be finished ahead of schedule.
The system will be put in place during working hours (8am to 5.30pm) until Friday August 28, two months on from when work initially began. Outside of working hours the road will be fully accessible in both directions.
The road works have caused widespread local discontent, with large traffic queues a regular occurrence on both the Irvinestown and Tempo Roads leading into the town.
In a surprising U-turn the system comes into place despite two previous statements released from Transport NI saying the one way traffic management system was “the best option given all the considerations” and “the most efficient way to deal with what is unavoidable congestion”.
Chairman of Enniskillen Business Partnership Jonathan Styles previously told the Herald a verbal agreement was reached on July 24 to put in the system on Monday July 27, but this was denied by Transport NI. Since the work began back in June Mr Styles has called for stop/go boards to be introduced to alleviate the congestion problems experienced in Enniskillen on the Tempo and Irvinestown Roads.
A Transport NI spokesman yesterday confirmed that work on Johnston Bridge North was ahead of schedule and work on the southern bridge was scheduled to start next summer.
“The final surfacing on the road is being placed today (Tuesday).
“Once this has been completed further site work will be of a more localised nature, providing a safe opportunity to use a stop/go system working day. It was not possible to use this type control earlier in the sequence of work. Outside working hours traffic will be able to continue to use the bridge uninterrupted in both directions.”
The spokesman continued: “The work had been planned to be complete on the road by the 27 August, however, the project is ahead of schedule. It is hoped that after Friday 21 August disruption to traffic will be minimal with uninterrupted two way flows being reinstated and the removal of all traffic control measures and diversion signage.
“Work will also shortly be starting on the underside of the bridge, this work will continue into September but the nature of this work is such that it will have minimal impact on traffic flows.
“The work at Johnston Bridge south which had been planned to start immediately after that at the north bridge has been deferred. This will allow a further review of the timing and management of this important work to maintain the load carrying ability of this bridge.
“It is currently the intention to carry out the work to this southern bridge during the summer of 2016.”
Brian Cullen, manager of The Wine Shop on the Cornagrade Road said the development was simply “too little, too late”.
“It’s a bit late now isn’t it. For me to go to the bank, it was a five minute journey, maybe 10 minutes down across Johnston Bridge, but in the last few months it has taken me around 45 minutes, because there’s other road works on the Cornagrade Road, there’s others beside the Enniskillen Hotel, where you’re trying to get into traffic and to get back around the town again.
“I think it could have been even an hour on occasion. The planning from Transport NI has not been good enough.”
He added: “The work is to be welcomed I suppose, but the rumours are it’s going to be started again next year. It’s hanging over all of us.”
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition
Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere