Local objections force changes to roadworks but huge disruption still feared on main roads

BIG dig begins

By Gemma Burns

W ork on the water mains on the Cliftonville Road that was due to start last Monday will begin this weekend after a series of meetings with local politicians, community reps and residents.

Last week the North Belfast News revealed that work on the water supply on the busy road was forced into a delay after accusations from local political and community representatives that NI Water failed to properly consult with the local community.

The road was to be entirely closed off on the country bound lane and set to be turned into a one-way system.

The plans were heavily criticised by politicians, traders on the road who say they will lose business, and local community representatives who insisted residents were not properly informed of the major changes that are expected to last for more than two months.

Yesterday (Wednesday) NI Water said they had made a series of changes to their original plans in order to reduce disruption to the local community.

The planned works will now be completed in sections with Section One work taking place between the Antrim Road junction and Rosapenna Drive; Section Two between Oldpark Avenue and Cliftonville Circus. A third section that was originally planned for the summer months between Rosapenna Drive and Oldpark Avenue will now take place at a later date

The progress has been welcomed by Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly, who organised the initial meetings with NI Water and community representatives.

“From the moment Sinn Féin were alerted to the extent of the proposed disruption, alarm bells started ringing and we then asked for a postponement until a better way forward could be found,” he said.

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