The hundred or so motorists waiting up to four minutes to access the Caw roundabout from Waterfoot Park during the morning rush hour will just have to suck it up for the time being as there is no intention on the part of the Department of Regional Development (DRD) of introducing traffic lights at the junction.
But Roads Minister Danny Kennedy has written to Waterside SDLP Councillor Martin Reilly to say that the potential impact of a number of major planning applications in the Gransha area - recent applications for a superstore and hotel have been lodged - will be assessed in future should they progress.
Mr Reilly expressed disappointment at what he described as a lack of urgency shown by the DRD on “a much-needed upgrade to the Caw roundabout.”
He said road users in the city have consistently voiced their concerns over safety at the roundabout – following more than 50 casualties over the last three years – and local residents have also been calling for the installation of new traffic lights at the roundabout.
He said: “I am disappointed that the Minister has not been able to progress the necessary upgrade of this roundabout with the urgency that I and others feel it merits.
“While I understand that other planning applications will impact on the usage of this key strategic road for the city and wider North West, I feel that action is required now as this roundabout is already experiencing a high number of accidents.
“I would therefore call on the Minister to meet with local residents to hear their frustrations and re-prioritise this work within his department.”
Mr Kennedy recently wrote to Mr Reilly to advise: “Traffic surveys have recently been carried out on all approaches to Caw roundabout, including the Waterfoot Park access to the roundabout.
“It was noted during the morning weekday peak hour, that approximately 5,100 vehicles access the Caw roundabout, of which 122 emerge from Waterfoot Park.
“It was also noted the waiting time for traffic during the busy morning period from joining a queue to accessing the roundabout is greatest on the Waterfoot Park approach to the Caw roundabout, with the longest recorded waiting time during this peak hour being four minutes.
“I am aware of a number of significant planning applications, which may further impact on this roundabout and this will be taken into account when dealing with these applications.
“In the interim, my Department considers the Caw roundabout is able to satisfactorily accommodate the large volume of traffic and there are no proposals to carry out any immediate improvements.”