New Coast Road wall slammed

The newly-heightened section of the  Antrim Coast Road between Ballygally and Glenarm. INLT-08-701-con

The newly-heightened section of the Antrim Coast Road between Ballygally and Glenarm. INLT-08-701-con

A Ballygally resident fears that the increased height of part of the Coast Road wall between Ballygally and Glenarm will damage tourism.

Administrator of the Larne Renovation Generation Facebook page Andy King spoke out after observing that a section of the newly-heightened wall along the Antrim Coast Road blocked out the scenic view of one of the area’s main tourist attractions for car drivers.

Part of the Coast Road wall between Ballygally and Glenarm before it was heightened. INLT-08-703-con

Part of the Coast Road wall between Ballygally and Glenarm before it was heightened. INLT-08-703-con

“The wall is just under the full height of the window for car drivers,” Andy told the Times.

“I am six foot tall and can hardly see over it, I can only see the sky, not the sea.

“Many visitors hire a car to drive along the Coast Road, or they come off the ferry in a car, and I am worried that this will take away from the beauty of the route. It will diminish the quality of the view for visitors, unless they are in a coach .”

Andy says that the move to increase the wall’s size is the East Antrim equivalent of the Dark Hedges white lines row, when a DRD contractor mistakenly painted white lines on the road at the site of the iconic trees which featured in Game of Thrones.

“So far there are two different sections which have been heightened, and I really hope they don’t plan to heighten the wall along the entire Coast Road,” Andy concluded.

Tripadvisor ranks the Coast Road as number 22 out of 174 things to do in County Antrim. The Coast Road has also been rated one of the Top Five Road Trips worldwide.

A DRD spokesperson revealed that the heightened sections of wall were being built up to improve sea defences, and that only two per cent or 0.76km of the route’s 38km would be affected.

“The new parapet walls under construction at Ballygally will protect road users and help keep the road open when sea defences are overtopped by waves,” she said.

“In accordance with current design standards the height of such new containment must be 1.2 metres.

“It is hoped this work will be completed by April 2016.

“No further extensive parapet wall construction works along the Coast Road are planned by TransportNI.

“TransportNI appreciate fully the impact of such works however road safety must take precedence.

“We remain committed to minimising both the environmental and aesthetic implications of all our works along this key element of the road network,” she concluded.

Work began in May 2015 and will be completed this April.