Claim Roads Service were ill-prepared for snowfall

A LOCAL DUP MLA said that he will be contacting the Minister to find out why the Roads Service were ‘totally ill prepared’ in dealing with the ‘minor snowfall’ that caused widespread traffic chaos around Lisburn on Monday afternoon.

Paul Givan said that the blanket of snow caused traffic gridlock around the city from 3.30pm for some hours. Many motorists complained that a road journey which would have normally taken just ten minutes was taking many up to three hours.

Collisions too were causing headaches across the city making matters worse while a few just abandoned their broken down vehicles - some left on the side of the Prince William Road - and used other ways to get out of the city.

Mr Givan said he will be personally contacting the minister to find out why the roads were so bad around Lisburn. He said that the snow fell elsewhere around the province and asked why there was such traffic chaos around Lisburn.

He said that he had been contacted by many frustrated residents in the Pond Park area where roads were particularly treacherous.

“The Pond Park Primary School and the nursery were closed on Tuesday because of the state of the roads,” he said. “On Tuesday morning the roads were still bad. I have been contacted by many frustrated drivers who were attempting to get home on Monday.

“Many said that they had seen many gritting lorries on roads around the city on Friday and Saturday when snow was expected but none on Monday. It just would appear that the Roads Service in the Lisburn area was not prepared for the snow fall on Monday. Many complained that a road journey that should have taken just ten minutes was taking up to three hours.

“There were a lot of collisions too which did not help. It just seems that they were not ready for the weather. Snow fell elsewhere so why was Lisburn so badly affected? I will be contacting the minister and finding out why.

“There should be lessons learned here. The levels of snow that fell should not have created such chaos. The snow fell everywhere but the roads around Lisburn were very bad. It was not exceptional weather but it was exceptional traffic chaos.

“A lot of people called to ask why they saw a lot more gritter lorries around Lisburn on Friday and Saturday as snow was expected but not on Monday. Was the Roads Service just ill prepared? Was Lisburn just forgotten about? There did not seem a problem elsewhere. It might have been the case where the gritting solution had not had the chance to act, it had been put down and it was not effective but this should have been planned long before the snow fall. Plans should have been in place.”

A spokesperson for the Roads Service said: “Roads Service were prepared for forecast snow on Monday night. Snow blowers and gritters were out in force on all the routes on the gritted network in Lisburn on Monday night and Tuesday morning. The main routes all remained open.

“During the severe winter weather, Roads Service works around the clock to grit the main road network across the whole of Northern Ireland which serves 80 per cent of the traffic. However, it is a battle with Mother Nature and despite our best efforts to improve the safety and condition of the roads, Roads Service cannot guarantee ice/snow free roads. Drivers should drive according to the conditions.”