WITH thousands of visitors expected to descend on Cuilcagh Mountain boardwalk over the Easter weekend, the Council are putting measures in place in an attempt to tackle the anticipated gridlock.
Last year in the region of 800 cars made their way up to the beginning of the phenomenally popular walking trail on Easter Monday alone, causing traffic chaos on the Marlbank loop.
Around 3,250 walkers made climbed the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ over Easter weekend, a 700 percent increase on the previous year, and over 60,000 walked the walk throughout 2017.
With the popularity of the Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail, as it is officially called, continuing to grow, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) plan to deploy additional staff and erect extra signage to in the short-term to deal with the throngs of visitors expected.
“Efforts to continue to manage traffic will continue and be ongoing until a long-term sustainable solution can be reached,” the Council have said. “We will deploy additional staff and contract stewards at anticipated high use times. These staff and contractors will provide directions to visitors and manage traffic to maintain the most sustainable solution for both visitors, residents and any other users of the site and the public road.”
In the long-term the Council is working on a potential Rural Development Programme project that will hopefully include additional off-road parking facilities, however this will not be in place for the coming tourist season. Currently, the carpark at the entrance to the walk-way is privately owned and operated.
Congratulating the Council officers on being pro-active, local Cllr Alex Baird said: “The restrictions are the topography of the area and the roads infrastructure within it.
“I’ve looked at the possibility, for instance, of directing the traffic in a one way system around it. For large vehicles, there’s a very large hairpin bend if you’re going in a clockwise direction that a bus of any size would never negotiate. It’s not a practicality.
“I empathise with the locals who live there, the farmers trying to get to their land, but it’s such a feature now,” he added.
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