Call for action over Larne traffic 'gridlock'

Archive image.
Archive image.

There has been a call for action over morning traffic "gridlock" in the Donaghy's Lane area of Larne.

East Antrim MLA John Stewart urged the Department for Infrastructure to tackle the issue before a planned housing development brings an increased number of residents to the area.

“The school run traffic logjam at Donaghy’s Lane is reaching severe proportions, and with the prospect of 31 new homes being built and occupied on the old Highways Hotel site, it will soon reach crisis proportions," he said.

"Those on the school run between 8:30am and 9am are sitting in queues to get onto Donaghy’s Lane and the Antiville Road wondering where these potential extra 60 cars are going to go. The only way out to access Larne schools and places of work for people living in the hundreds of houses built over the past 25 years in the Larne West suburbs is via Donaghy’s Lane. This is unsustainable.

“A condition of a future planning application for the building of around 500 new homes off the Ballyboley Road is that some sort of signalised junction upgrade at the Antiville Road/Donaghy’s Lane junction is put in place before the 151st house is occupied. But there will be total gridlock if nothing is done before that occurs."

The UUP man added: “It is deeply frustrating that between the planners and the DfI Roads Service, they will not intervene and actually finish the still to be completed Ballyloran Link road or upgrade the junctions in and out of the existing housing developments.

"They are continuing to insist that the roads infrastructure is ‘developer led’ and are leaving it to the house builders to complete the roads as they go along. But this approach is clearly not working, as can be seen by the missing link of wasteland where Hampton Manor is meant to connect with Clover Brook and the Old Belfast Road/A8.

“This has gone on for too long and the congestion on Donaghy’s Lane is becoming too much to simply sit back and do nothing. I have again contacted the planners and the roads engineers and have appealed for them to come together and properly plan what needs to be done to upgrade the roads and road junctions in Larne West, and then implement the upgrades in conjunction with the developers.

“What should be a pleasant environment in which to bring up families is in danger of being ruined by this failure to plan basic infrastructure.”

Responding, a spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure spokesperson reiterated that the Larne Area Plan identified the provision of the roads in Larne West as developer led. "There is an active planning consent for the unfinished section of carriageway between Hampton Manor and Cloverbrook," the spokesperson added.

"Planning applications are a matter for Mid and East Antrim Council; however, DfI Roads, as one of the statutory consultees has commented on the traffic issues linked to new developments in this area and is satisfied that the proposed modifications to the junctions will accommodate the increased traffic in the absence of completion of the link road.

"A letter has been received from Mr Stewart and a response will be provided on the issues raised in due course.”