Roads Service to fix Mallusk bridge

Danny Kinahan MLA.
Danny Kinahan MLA.

THE ROADS Service has said it will carry out repairs to a bridge in Mallusk which residents have been campaigning to get fixed for the past number of years.

It’s believed the bridge on the Sealstown Road was damaged after it was hit by a lorry about five years ago.

Residents said they were concerned about the safety of motorists and walkers in the area, who could fall into the river below.

Mallusk man Hamilton Stitt, who passes the bridge every day, said: “It is very dangerous. You could easily drive over the edge if you did not realise there was no wall there.

“We have been trying to get answers as to who is responsible for fixing the wall but no one was able to give us a straight answer. Recently, cones were put around the damage, but we could not even find out who was responsible for them.”

Fellow resident Louise Smith told the Times she had serious safety concerns: “My fear is that we have raised this problem, nothing will be done and then someone will be injured and then someone will have to take notice – and that is not the way it should be.”

After the Times approached the Roads Service for a response the agency said repairs would be carried out “sooner rather than later”.

A spokeswoman said: “Following a recent enquiry, Roads Service has investigated the ownership of the retaining wall adjacent to Sealstown Road and to date we have not been able to establish who is the legal owner of this wall.

“However, a recent site investigation has identified significant erosion at the base of the retaining wall which, over time, could affect the stability of the adjacent public road.

“Under these circumstances, Roads Service will take appropriate action to repair the retaining wall. The timescale for this work will depend upon the nature of the work which is required and also the water level in the river.”

The Times also asked why the Roads Service had not sought financial compensation for the repairs from the insurance company of the driver who caused the damage to the wall at the time of the incident.

The spokeswoman added: “Roads Service has no record of any damage to this wall being reported at the time of the alleged collision, therefore there is little prospect of successfully pursuing a claim for damages, even if the driver could be identified and the Department was able to establish the ownership of this wall.”

MLA Danny Kinahan has been working with the residents in the area to get the necessary repairs carried out to the bridge.

He welcomed the decision to carry out the repairs: “The residents will be delighted. It is something that has concerned them for some time and I will be ensuring that these repairs are carried out as soon as it possible.”