‘Come and see the danger for yourself’

Stephen Moran examines the erosion that has weakened the structure of the bridge.
Stephen Moran examines the erosion that has weakened the structure of the bridge.

MALLUSK residents have called on Environment Minister Alex Attwood to come and see for himself the danger they and others face each day.

A hazardous bridge, which is the only access route to the six homes on Grange Lane, is in a state of serious disrepair and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

The bridge dates back almost 100 years and over time heavy rains and rising river levels have eroded large swathes of land and with it the support for the structure.

Last year, following flooding, the bridge was deemed unsafe to cross and was closed, effectively cutting the residents off.

However, homeowners and others needing access, faced with no other option, have been forced to use the bridge on a daily basis.

Residents have campaigned for the past year to have the bridge replaced and have held meetings with various government agencies to try and find a solution to the problem.

However, what has further angered them is that the Environment Minister found the money in a similar situation when a wall in Londonderry collapsed earlier this year.

Chairman of the Mallusk Community Action Group and Grange Lane resident, Stephen Moran urged the Minister, Alex Attwood, to come and see the danger for himself.

He said: “We have no idea what is holding this bridge up and how long it will last. All we know is that it will collapse. We just hope there is no one crossing it at the time.

“This is an emergency situation that needs to be sorted sooner rather than later. There was a design for a new bridge made, which was expected to cost around £60,000 - but not one of our government agencies will take responsibility for paying for it.

“In a similar situation in Derry the DoE managed to find £250,000 to fix a wall within days after it collapsed because of the danger it posed - it is the same situation here.

“We don’t know what is holding this bridge up and why no one wants to fix it.

“If this was in the middle of a housing estate then the matter would be sorted - but because we are out of the way we have been forgotten about.”

Read the full story in this week’s Times...