Crash sparks renewed pleas for road safety improvements to be progressed

Robbie Butler MLA at the scene on the crash on Knockmore Road on Tuesday afternoon.
Robbie Butler MLA at the scene on the crash on Knockmore Road on Tuesday afternoon.

There have been renewed calls for urgent safety improvements on the Knockmore Road, Lisburn following a serious crash on the busy route on Tuesday.

A man aged in his 70s was taken to hospital after the car he was driving was involved in a road traffic collision with a police car.

The pensioner had to be cut from his Honda Jazz car by firefighters following the two-vehicle crash, which occurred close to the Ballinderry Road junction - a notorious accident blackspot - shortly before 12 noon.

Knockmore Road was closed for several hours while emergency services personnel attended the scene.

A PSNI spokesperson said a man aged in his 70s was taken to hospital with “injuries that are not thought to be life threatening at this time”, while two police officers sustained minor injuries.

The crash has sparked renewed pleas for long-awaited junction safety improvements on Knockmore Road to be progressed as a matter of urgency.

Lagan Valley UUP MLA and former firefighter Robbie Butler commented: “I find it intolerable that given the atrocious accident history at this now infamous junction we are still no closer to seeing traffic management upgrades to improve safety and vehicle flow.

“I use this junction almost daily and have witnessed many near miss incidents that reinforce the necessity for action and not procrastination. I reiterate my continued call on all those responsible - the Department for Infrastructure, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, PSNI and the appropriate developers - to deliver this life-saving upgrade before we are dealing with further tragedy.”

His party colleague, Cllr Alexander Redpath added: “Over 10 years ago these improvements were made a legally binding requirement of building in the area, but this was never enforced by the department.

“Over the past year we (the council) have been involved in a dispute with the department about who is legally competent to act to enforce these improvements. Hopefully the department is now keen to work with us to resolve this issue.”

An online petition calling for the urgent installation of traffic lights at junctions on Knockmore Road has been signed by more than 2,500 people. The change.org petition can be accessed here.

Giving an update on the stalled safety improvements, a spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure said: “Delivery of the planned improvements on Knockmore Road and Prince William Road is the responsibility of local housing developers. The department is working with Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council and the involved developers to bring about these planned improvements as quickly as possible. To date the developers have not delivered the improvements and so enforcement action is being jointly considered by the department and council.”

A spokesperson for the council added: “This matter continues to be under discussion with all parties.”

Police officers investigating Tuesday’s crash have appealed for witnesses, or anyone with relevant dash cam footage, to contact them on 101 quoting reference number 438 of 06/03/18.