Work being carried out at Ballycarry railway bridge will improve road safety for visitors to the Gobbins coastal path, it has been claimed.
Transport Minister Michelle McIlveen has announced that work on a £120,000 footway scheme at the railway bridge on Island Road Lower, Islandmagee is now underway and is expected to be complete by December 18.
The improvements will provide a link the existing footways on both sides of the bridge and giving uninterrupted pedestrian access on Island Road Lower to the station from both Ballycarry and Ballystrudder.
Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “With the expected increase in traffic with the recent opening of the Gobbins Visitors Centre, this substantial investment will improve pedestrian safety and make it easier to access Ballycarry railway halt.”
Due to the narrow confines of the bridge, the carriageway will be reduced in width to one lane to give sufficient room for the provision of the footpath. Vehicle traffic will be controlled by traffic lights on a ‘tidal’ basis, similar to the traffic management arrangement on the A2 over the railway at Glynn.
To help ensure the safety of road users and contractors, the road will be closed for the duration of the works. Traffic will be diverted via the A2 Larne Road, B150 Slaughterford Road, Islandmagee Road and Ballystrudder Road.
Access to the railway halt will be maintained and pedestrian access across the bridge will also remain in place.
East Antrim MLA Alastair Ross welcomed the commencement of the scheme and said: “This investment and will go some way to improve pedestrian safety on the road, particularly given the increase in traffic as a result of the re-opening of the Gobbins Path attraction.
“Although motorists will experience some disruption during the 10 week construction period, efforts will be made to keep this to a minimum.”
Fellow DUP colleague, East Antrim MLA Gordon Lyons also expressed his delight with the announcement, adding: “This is good news for people in the area and especially those who walk to and from Ballycarry halt.
“It is right that this work is carried out and I commend TransportNI for listening to the common sense arguments that were made and for progressing with this work. I look forward to its completion.”