Roads Service is being praised for its fast response to safety concerns at a South Belfast footbridge.
Repairs were this week carried out to steps on of the bridge, which crosses the railway line between Donegall Avenue and Fane Street, after local Green Party activists warned the surface had become a trip hazard.
The Green Party has thanked the agency for the work carried out, but is stressing that further improvements or, ideally, the replacement of the bridge will be required in the longer term.
Mark Simpson, the party’s candidate for Balmoral in May’s local government election, said:
“The surface of the bridge had deteriorated and had become a serious trip hazard. The many people who cross between the Village and Fane Street on a daily basis will be safer thanks to these repairs, carried out within days of the Green Party raising its concerns with Roads Service.
“Further work is still required, however. The surface soaks up water and is treacherous underfoot when this freezes during cold water – this must be replaced. The bridge also looks unsightly, with peeling paint, graffiti and overhead razorwire, which traps litter.
“Long term, plans are required for the installation of a new bridge with ramps instead of – or as well as – steps. The present structure is inconvenient for cyclists, a serious obstacle to parents with prams or buggies and all but impassable for anyone with limited mobility.”
Clare Bailey, the Green Party’s Assembly candidate for Belfast South, added:
“A great many people from the Village area cross the railway line every day to access Fane Street Primary School, Dunluce Health Centre and businesses on the Lisburn Road, but the current bridge does not make the crossing easy for parents of small children or anyone with a disability.
“It is also ironic that while considerable sums of money are being spent on public art to greet people arriving in Belfast via the Broadway roundabout, people living just a few hundred metres away must put up with this eyesore. I would ask Roads Service to make provision in its 2011-12 budget to ensure these issues are addressed.”