DfI takes action to address grass overgrowth at dangerous junction

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TransportNI moved swiftly to cut back overgrown verges at a busy junction on the outskirts of Derry this week after members of the local community warned drivers were being unsighted by rampant vegetation and that someone would eventually be killed if action wasn’t taken.

Members of the local community in the Strathfoyle and Maydown area lobbied local political representatives and the local road authority over the increasingly wild overgrowth on verges and traffic islands at the Clooney Road and Temple Road junction to the North East of the city.

Paul Hughes, a local community worker in the Strathfoyle area, said that there had been “a lot of concern about the urgent need to cut the grass at this junction”.

Following the community’s petitions TransportNI appeared on the scene on Wednesday morning and dealt with some of the runaway plant life along the roads.

However, further pruning and grass-cutting is scheduled to take place next week when TransportNI hopes to have obtained permission for traffic calming on the A2, which will be necessary to ensure the safety of roads service workers and motorists using the road, while the work is carried out.

A Department for Infrastructure (DfI) spokesperson explained: “All roadside verges and sightline grass will be cut at least once in the period April‑October, with sightlines at bends and junctions being cut more frequently as required to ensure public safety is not compromised.

“DFI Roads officials have inspected the Temple Road/Clooney site and grass has already been cut on those sightlines that can be cut without the requirement for temporary traffic management.

“Legislation requires temporary traffic management processes to be in place for grass cutting on high speed dual carriageways.

“This has been scheduled for June 9 and grass on the dual carriageway will be cut then.”

Welcoming the preliminary grass-cutting on Wednesday, Mr. Hughes said: “This was after a very concerted community effort with many concerned citizens taking the time to phone them up and raise concerns.

“MLAs Mark H. Durkan and Elisha McCallion also raised the issue with Transport NI as did Westminster candidates Mark Durkan and Shaun Harkin.

“The onus is now on Transport NI to ensure that this junction is regularly maintained particularly as we enter the summer months. It’s a dangerous junction at the best of times and we would urge all road users to continue to exercise caution when crossing at this junction. We need action before lives are lost. This issue always has to be raised year on year. This junction should be regularly maintained given its dangerous nature. People are fed up angry, annoyed, and concerned. I would call on all elected representatives to take action now.”

Mr. Hughes had earlier been so concerned about the safety of the junction he had called for its closure until the overgrowth had been properly addressed.