Pigeon plagued pavement closed as TransportNI confirm concern over corrosion and safety

The pigeon plagued pavement on the Craigavon Bridge has been closed to pedestrians and cyclists this week as TransportNI engineers confirmed a pile of droppings at the Waterside is not only creating a slippery health hazard but is actually corroding the historic railway bridge.

SDLP Councillor Martin Reilly, who last year said ‘unpleasant and unsafe’ pigeon deposits were causing distress to cyclists and pedestrians using the bridge, said TransportNI engineers are taking the concerns seriously.

Mr Reilly also said he’ll raise the matter at the Council’s Health and Community Committee later today, February 11.

The Waterside Councillor has received a fresh reply to his concerns from Transport NI after again reporting the problem earlier this week.

Harry Gallagher from TransportNI said: “As the Section Engineer for bridges I am keen to prevent the build up of bird droppings on the bridge. “These can cause a corrosive environment for the steelwork on the bridge and deterring pigeons from roosting on the bridge has the additional benefit of reducing the mess on the footway below.

“In January, this year some wire mesh was fixed to a one of the girders near the steps between the upper and lower deck footways as a trial to see how effective this approach could be to reducing the problem.

“At this stage the mesh does not seem to be as effective as I had hoped and I have asked for alternative methods to be considered.

“Efforts are likely to be concentrated on this region near the steps as this seems to be the worst affected area.”

Whilst bird droppings are found throughout the city a pigeon hang-out close to the steps near the Waterside end of the bridge is where the problem is most pronounced. Layers of pigeon droppings millimetres thick have been allowed to accumulate and when slick with rain it poses a serious hazard for walkers and cyclists.