Councillors fear A2 scheme will add to gridlock

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ROADS Service has vowed to do everything possible to mitigate traffic problems during work on the A2 Shore Road widening project.

Speaking to local councillors at their monthly Planning and Consultation Committee meeting last week, Basil Hassard, project manager for the A2 scheme, did his best to allay fears of traffic chaos when work begins at Jordanstown and Greenisland next year.

Mr Hassard confirmed that work to widen the 3.5km section of carriageway between the entrance to University of Ulster and Seapark is due to begin in April.

The busy route, which carries around 35,000 vehicles every day, will be widened to four lanes to remove the existing traffic bottleneck at Greenisland.

The meeting was informed that the new dual carriageway will follow the current road line from UUJ to the Station Road junction and then swing inland behind homes and businesses before rejoining the existing dual carriageway at Seapark.

The work will include the construction of four roundabouts, improved footpaths and cycleways along the shore side and pedestrian crossing facilities at all junctions. Low noise surfacing will be used along the route and stone walls and hedge planting will be completed between the road and residential properties.

Mr Hassard revealed that six firms have tendered for the work and their submissions are currently being evaluated

He said the contractor is due to be appointed in February 2013, with work expected to begin two months later.

Local access and utilities will be maintained during the period of the work.

Several councillors expressed concerns that surrounding roads such as the Old Carrick Road, Monkstown Road and Doagh Road can’t take much more traffic, with some fearing complete gridlock when work on the A2 project gets under way.

“The traffic’s already nose to tail on these roads and this is only going to make it worse,” councillor Jim Bingham claimed.

Mr Hassard assured the meeting that a temporary traffic management strategy will be put in place in bid to mitigate problems, and that two-way traffic flow will be maintained on the Shore Road during peak hours.

“We are not planning to divert traffic as we know roads such as the B90 are already busy and can’t take much more traffic,” he commented.

The Roads Service official revealed that discussions have also taken place with utility companies asking them not to carry out any work 
on alternative routes in the area - Station Road, Jordanstown Road, Upper Road, Old Carrick Road, Monkstown Road etc - during the A2 widening.

Work on the long-awaited project is scheduled to be completed by summer 2015.