Motorists are being advised to pre-plan their journeys next week as the St Patrick’s Day festivities get underway across Londonderry and Strabane.
With thousands expected to attend the Spring Carnival Parade on Thursday March 17, people are being reminded to expect delays and allow extra time for travel in and around the parade route areas.
The PSNI has urged motorists to heed traffic warnings and to expect some level of disruption during the traditional parades taking place in both Londonderry and Strabane.
A PSNI spokesperson said: “We would encourage anyone intending to travel through Derry or Strabane to plan ahead for their journeys. Please allow more time to get through, or seek alternative routes around the celebrations.
“Police officers and marshals will be on hand to direct traffic. We also encourage motorists to use designated car parks or parking areas to and keep parade routes clear.”
In Londonderry crowds are expected to congregate along the main route ahead of the carnival parade which commences its journey from Queen’s Quay car park at 2pm.
From there it will turn up Boating Club Lane and proceed along the Strand Road and around the Harbour Square roundabout, before returning back to the Queen’s Quay car park along the Queen’s Quay, where it will end at approximately 3pm.
Anyone hoping to view the parade can watch it at any point along this route.
Wheelchair users and spectators with impaired mobility can access a special viewing platform located along Queen’s Quay, opposite the City Hotel. Anyone wishing to use the platform is advised to arrive in good time to access the area while space remains.
Limited car parking at the rear of the Strand Road car park, overlooking the parade’s return along Queen’s Quay, will be available for vehicle bound persons to view the parade but will be reserved for Blue Badge holders.
Crowds are also expected to gather in and around the Guildhall Square where the Spring Carnival Festival Marquee will host live music and entertainment throughout the day from 12noon.
Activities will also be taking place in the Peace Garden in Foyle Street and the Craft Village.
There will be ample parking facilities in and around the city centre but, where possible, the public are strongly advised to use the public transport system or to consider walking to the event.
Police have advised that in the interests of safety, the following roads will be closed to traffic or have traffic restrictions in place during the parade: Strand Road lane closure in front of the Council offices will be in operation between 1pm and 4pm; Foyle Embankment lane closure on the city bound approach to Water Street, will be operational from 1.50pm until 3pm approximately.
Strand Road, Harbour Square, Queen’s Quay, Whittaker Street and the Foyle Embankment, between Water Street and the City Hotel, will be closed to traffic during the parade, between 2pm and 3pm. Diversions will be in operation during these times.
All times are approximate and road closures and diversions will be kept to the minimum length necessary to ensure safety.
There are no plans to restrict access to the Peace Bridge, however crowd movement over the bridge will be monitored and if necessary controls will be introduced to ensure crowd safety, which may result in slight delays in crossing the bridge.
In Strabane there will be restrictions in place on Market Street from 1.30pm – 4.00pm to accommodate crowds attending the parade. The parade will commence at 2pm sharp and proceed along the Melmount Road via Bridge Street, Market Street, Abercorn Square and Railway Street finishing up at the Score Site in Dock Street.
Strabane Radio Online will have a stage with local talent performing live to the assembled crowd, and during this time Market Street which will be closed off to all vehicular traffic. Please note that there will only be limited car parking spaces in Butcher Street car park.
For more information on the full programme of events taking place over the St Patrick’s Spring Carnival weekend, go to www.derrystrabane.com/stpatricks