West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Abercorn Bridge a matter of urgency

Published: 20 November, 2012

West Tyrone MLA Declan McAleer has questioned the Minister for Regional Development on what actions he intends to take as a matter of urgency to address the safety issues on the Abercorn Bridge, Newtownstewart. Mr McAleer stated, "The one-lane bridge has been an issue of on-going concern for local motorists for a number of years. The bridge is deemed by many as unsafe and there have been a number of accidents in the area where the bridge is located. Roads Service has advised that the Abercorn Bridge in Newtownstewart is 80 years old and has suffered a significant amount of corrosion, which has consequently reduced the strength of the bridge. DRD officials have further advised that, in order to address these safety concerns, interim measures of limiting the weight of vehicles using the bridge to three tonnes and restricting traffic on the bridge to one lane were introduced in 2006. I have been informed that Roads Service is currently investigating the cost effectiveness of refurbishing and strengthening this bridge. If this option proves to be good value for money and sufficient funding is available, it is hoped that the work could commence in Autumn 2013. However, it is likely that, even after completion of the strengthening works, a permanent restriction in terms of either vehicle weight, or the number of traffic lanes will be required. I hope this issue is moved onto Danny Kennedy's schedule of major works as soon as possible, and I will continue to push for this to be made a priority as this is a matter of urgency in terms of addressing safety issues in Newtownstewart."