Junction pledge stuck in nine-year jam

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A woman involved in an accident at Lisburn’s Knockmore Road/Ballinderry Road junction nine years ago has been waiting ever since for action all but promised at the time.

A car ploughed into the rear of Sara Staniland’s vehicle in 2006 but only recently - almost a decade later - came news of another urgent call for traffic lights to be installed at the notorious junction.

That call, from Councillor Alexander Redpath, followed the latest in a long line of accident reports.

Sara, from Mornington Avenue, said that at the time of her own accident she was told something would be done to upgrade the junction, but in the years that followed her own and other efforts to secure safety improvements had achieved nothing. “All we’re ever told is that there’s a shortage of money,” she said.

Mr Redpath recently explained that Planning Service had anticipated signalisation of a number of Knockmore Road junctions amid significant development in the area, but the property crash left the developers insolvent.

“This has left residents in limbo as the administrators are unwilling and unable to complete the full scale of anticipated development,” he said. “There is thus uncertainty over exactly who is responsible for signalising the junction.”

Aware, he added, that a number of departments were collaborating on the issue, he urged them to act quickly.

In the meantime Mrs Staniland is just one of many frustrated local residents for whom the junction poses both a navigational nightmare and a significant danger.

“Everybody around here feels very strongly about it,” she said.

Visiting her son, who lives nearby, she said, meant spending 20 minutes or more waiting to get out of the junction, while it was easier for her, when picking up her granddaughter from Laurelhill Community College, to travel a longer route via Benson Street and the Antrim Road.

She noted too another concern.

“The speed of traffic on the Knockmore Road is incredible,” she said. “You could be cut in two coming out of the junction.

“I look to see there’s nothing coming before I go out but by the time I reach the crown of the road there’s a car speeding down on me, blaring its horn.”

The Mornington woman added her voice to those calling anew for traffic lights.

“At the very least,” she said, “there needs to be even part-time lights.”