On the road to no where… are we stuck with gridlock?

Traffic in Enniskillen continues to be a topic of much debate, with drivers now familiar with sitting in lengthy queues as a frequent part of their daily commute. 
One motorist spoke of taking an hour to go from one side of Enniskillen to the other. Another spoke of sitting in traffic for almost 15 minutes to travel a matter of yards from the Clinton Centre to Dunnes Stores. This in a relatively small town of around 10,000 people.
A number of traffic pressure points have been identified around Enniskillen by Herald readers. Perhaps the biggest source of contention is the Wellington Road – often backed up almost from east bridge to west bridge. 
Many readers believe that with modest investment this road could be developed into a proper four lane throughpass which would do much to resolve congestion without the huge expense of building a major bypass.
The Herald took readers’ suggestions to the Department for Infrastructure, but the response doesn’t inspire a great deal of hope for those fed up of being stuck in lengthy bridge to bridge queues. 
“A large scale project, to include bridge widening, would be required to provide four continuous traffic lanes along Wellington Road. Funding is not currently available for such a scheme. There are no plans at this time to carry out further improvements at Derrychara Road or Dublin Road, Enniskillen,” a spokesman for DFI confirmed. 
One of the main pinch points is where the merge in turn lane ends near Mauds Cafe. It seems drivers are confused by how the merge lane is meant to work and are reluctant to cut in, resulting in traffic backing up often for hundreds of metres in the inside lane.
Herald readers have put forward suggestions and opinions on how our road layouts could be improved. 
One reader called for the merge in turn lane to be reconfigured to create a four lane carriageway. “Get rid of the outside lane that merges into one lane at Mauds, widen the road to four lanes, tighten speed restrictions, some people think it’s a racing track.”
This was echoed by another reader who called for a footpath on one side of the Wellington Road to be lost in order to create an extra lane for traffic. The reader argued that the footpath could be widened on the lakeside of the carriageway.
A further comment read, “Ultimately Enniskillen is an Island town. The pinch point at Mauds world definitely benefit from a fourth lane. But the Southern bypass will be the only real game changer.” 
While the Wellington Road may be an issue for some, motorists coming into Enniskillen from the Lisnaskea direction have also highlighted issues on the Dublin Road, near the Model PS as a pinch point. 
Leading to the traffic lights there are two lanes – traffic using the right hand lane must turn right for Tempo. One reader called for the lane on the left at to allow traffic to go both left and straight on into town.
The Derrychara Link, which runs along the side of the South West College is also a familiar road for tailbacks as two lanes of traffic approach the Dublin Road. The busier right hand lane allows traffic to turn right toward Maguiresbridge, and can commonly back up when busy. Traffic in the left hand lane turns toward the town centre. 
One reader told the Herald, “I was sitting in traffic for an hour on southern bank holiday Monday from Asda to traffic lights at pound stretcher it was ridiculous!”
An Enniskillen Bypass was frequently suggested by readers. In plans set out by the Department for Infrastructure 2019-2021 an Enniskillen Southern Bypass is listed. It is understood this project is progressing but remains dependent on funding. 
Last week the Herald contacted DFI and asked for an update on the bypass. A DFI spokesman said, “The Draft Orders and Environmental Impact Assessment Report associated with the Preferred Route for the A4 Enniskillen Southern Bypass were published in March 2018 and this was followed by a statutory consultation period which concluded on 18 May 2018. 
“A public information day was held in April 2018 when the preferred route was presented to the public. The Department considered all the comments received to this consultation and in January 2019, given the very low number of objections received to the scheme, decided that a public inquiry into the scheme proposals was not required. The Department is currently considering the next steps for the scheme.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA