A dangerous stretch of road in Banbridge where two schoolgirls were struck by a vehicle on Monday had been reviewed for safety measures by Transport NI just weeks before.
Both children were taken to hospital after the accident, which occurred as they were crossing the Scarva Road close to their school St Mary’s Primary.
The principal of the school said the area where the accident happened lost its crossing patrol person 10 years ago and has since been “an accident waiting to happen”.
However, Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has robustly defended the safety measures on the road.
“A review of the location was carried out over the summer and additional SCHOOL KEEP CLEAR yellow zig-zag markings have been provided on the Scarva Road at St Patrick’s College entrance”, he said at the Northern Ireland Assembly in response to a question by DUP MLA Carla Lockhart.
“Regarding the nearby junction I can advise that this crossroads is fully signalised with fully controlled pedestrian crossings on all legs of the junction. In recent years these crossings were upgraded and have been fitted with the latest PUFFIN technology which will hold traffic on red until it senses that all pedestrians using the crossing have safely crossed the road.
“I can also add that my Department’s TransportNI will be happy to work with the Education Authority and the school to assist in identifying steps they can take to improve safety for their pupils.”
The minister said he was very sorry to hear of the injuries sustained by the two young girls and wished them a speedy return to full health. He assured the public that officials will review the information with the PSNI when the accident investigation is complete to identify if there are any further measures which can be considered.
“All collisions on our roads are indeed regrettable but those involving young school children are especially traumatic for their families and all involved”, he said.
“The PSNI investigation will follow its course and the police will provide my officials with any relevant information so engineers can consider any viable measures to avoid such a collision in the future.”