Roads like ice skating rinks

Snowand ice causes traffic problems.
Snowand ice causes traffic problems.

The weekend proved a nightmare for many local motorists as they were forced to battle with treacherous road conditions.

The A26 Frosses Road, in particular, proved something of a disaster for those travelling with reportedly more than 17 accidents. Many vehicles ended up on their roof, leaving passengers stranded on roadsides and unable to get home for hours, according to posts on Facebook.

Other accidents also occurred on minor roads as drivers experienced treacherous conditions caused by the freezing temperatures made worse by rain which left local routes like a ice skating rink.

North Antrim MLA Daithi McKay said that drivers have told him of their fears that the A26, a notorious road with a reputation as an accident blackspot, was not being properly gritted.

Mr McKay said he had received complaints that parts of the A26 had not been gritted on Saturday night.

The A26 Frosses Road links Ballymena and Ballymoney and has seen a number of fatalities in recent years.

“I was told that there was a lot of accidents and near misses, particularly on the A26,” the Sinn Fein MLA said.

“People were concerned that all the roads that were supposed to be gritted weren’t gritted or the gritters weren’t out early enough. In some places, they weren’t out until after 5pm on Saturday.

“If there is pressure on the Roads Service to cover the gritting schedule, then we need to know about that as people are assuming that the roads are safe.”

However for one local lass the Roads Service got the thumbs up. Paula O’Neill is due to be married this Tuesday at the Chapel on the Ballyscullion/Largy Road. The route is not on the priority list but because of the importance of the event, the road will be gritted to make it much safer for guests.

The Mayor of Ballymoney urged pedestrians to be extra careful when negotiating footpaths. Some of them were treacherous on Monday morning and the last thing we want to see is people, particularly the elderly, ending up with broken bones.

“I would also urge drivers to slow down in these conditions. Thankfully it was a holiday time when there would have been less traffic on the roads,” Alderman Kennedy added.

The Department for Regional Development spokesperson added: “From Saturday 27 December until midday Monday 29 December the A26 was salted on five separate occasions. Actions takes between 2.5 hours and 3.5 hours to complete. On Saturday salting actions started at 3.55am and at 5:20pm, the latter being carefully timed to avoid sleet and rain in the area which had the potential to wash off any salting action.

“On Sunday, Salting Action took place at 4:05am and 2.45pm, and were repeated again on Monday morning at 4:06am.”

* Northern Ireland is likely to be the first UK region to return to milder weather in the next few days.