Cllr Patrick McGowan shows where one of the dips on the side of the road is causing damage for lorries and cars
Congestion on a small country road between Stranorlar and Crossroads is causing mayhem on a daily basis for commuters and lorries transporting produce from one of the country’s busiest creameries.
Scores of near misses, angry motorists, poor road conditions and overhanging trees have prompted a call to get the new transport minister to have the so called 'back road' upgraded to regional status and a cash injection to prevent a potential tragedy.
According to local councillor, Patrick McGowan the problems lie in the fact that this country road now caters for volumes of traffic it wasn't built for.
The road is also being used as a short cut and a feeder road from the border. Cllr McGowan says motorists are always using the back road for a variety of reasons, mainly because of road works, dangerous bends and delays on the main road.
He adds the problems are now compounded by the fact a huge number of overgrowing trees are overhanging the route and these are damaging lorries used by one of Ireland's biggest dairy companies, Aurivo.
This company, which is based in Crossroads and employs over 100 people, has complained on several occasions to local councillors and to Donegal County Council about the difficulties they face.
In a letter to Cllr McGowan they say complaints have been made to them by residents and drivers on this road about near misses with their lorries.
The lorries in question are operated by their contract hauliers transporting their product from the factory to the markets.
Drivers have told the company the root cause of the problem is the road itself and the conditions they experience.
They point to the fact that trees overhanging the road cause lorries to drive nearer the centre of the road and in some cases these lorries have been damaged to the extent that they had to be taken off the road.
Other problems caused by potholes, water lying along the side of the road and dips on some sides making it dangerous for a large vehicle to maintain its balance.
The company added an alternative route via Killygordon and the main Lifford -Stranorlar road was discussed but the drivers pointed out this would take large lorries past Dromore and Killygordon national schools, a play area, a creche, the narrow Dromore bridge and a left turn in the middle of Killygordon village that was very difficult to negotiate.
Major problems would also be experienced negotiating McClay's Corner in Stranorlar as well as on the entire length of the main streets of Stranorlar-Ballybofey.
“Overhanging trees, dips in the road, an uneven surface is causing chaos and it’s only a matter of time before there’s an accident here. The road needs strengthening and widening in a few areas, ditches and these trees need to be cut back,” Cllr McGowan said.
Cllr Patrick McGowan on one stretch of the Crossroads-Stranorlar road where the trees
overhang the road
“I am also worried for residents trying to get out on to this road.
“There’s quite a few houses on the road because it doesn't have the same planning restrictions as a national primary or national secondary road as well as lots of high ditches and bad corners.”
He added when people meet lorries they expect them to pull in but they didn't realise because of a dip at the side of the road or the overhanging tress these lorries can't pull in.
“I want some widening done this year at key pinch points,” he added.
“ We did a survey ten years ago which showed this road and found it to be busier than most of the regional roads in the county.
“This is a feeder road for at least six cross-border roads between Castlefinn, Liscooley, Killygordon, Edenmore and Carn and when a lot of people used them in the morning and evenings and when they all feed on to this road, it becomes extremely busy.”
He added moves have been made to contact the new Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD to get the road upgraded from a local road to a regional road.
It is busy enough to warrant it, he added.
“Further works are planned for the main road between Stranorlar and Killygordon in the coming months so this will mean people will use this back road to avoid the work and make it even busier than it is at present.
“We need action now, otherwise lives could be lost,” he claimed.
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