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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Retailers impacted as NI Water commences pipelaying work on busy Ballymena street

Broughshane Street on Thursday morning.

A number of retailers are expecting an impact on trade as Northern Ireland Water commenced a project of works on Broughshane Street today (Thursday 21 July), in Ballymena.

The company issued letters on 5 July to inform traders that contractors would soon be undertaking work to install 120m of surface water sewer and the construction of associated manholes from the entrance of Garfield Drive, along Broughshane Street and into a new apartment complex recently completed near the Chapel Roundabout.

The letter also stated that traffic management arrangements would be necessary, to include a lane closure, but would maintain a two way traffic flow on the street.

The latest works on Broughshane Street, a busy arterial route into Ballymena town centre, will affect some businesses more than others, particularly those who depend on passing trade.

Love Ballymena spoke to one well-known trader, Eugene Diamond (Diamonds Newsagent) who has noticed a decrease in customer footfall today.

“I got quite a surprise this morning when I looked outside the shop and contractors had begun fencing off this whole side of the street,” Eugene said.

“I can understand that the work is essential and needs to be completed but I had no idea around the scale of disruption that it involved. I received a letter from NI Water a few weeks ago but it was very vague, and I feel this is the sort of project that should be discussed with traders, not just dumped on them.

Traffic queued on Thursday afternoon.

Eugene continued: “A lot of traders on this street, including myself, depend on passing trade. There’s no doubt a lot of people will choose to avoid the street rather than battle with the queues of traffic.

“I’m grateful for all my regular customers who popped into the shop today, but things have been noticeably quieter.”

Questions have also been raised around the forward thinking of utility companies. A £78,000 footway re-construction and road resurfacing scheme was undertook on Broughshane Street in September 2019, before which utility companies would have been consulted over any infrastructure works needing completed.

Triangle Housing Association at this time already had submitted a planning application for the Broughshane Street apartment complex on 4 December 2018.

In response to concerns around communication with local traders, a spokesperson for NI Water told Love Ballymena:

“NI Water is currently carrying out essential pipelaying work to provide sewerage infrastructure for a new development on Broughshane Street, Ballymena. The estimated timeframe for the work is 6 weeks.

“NI Water appreciates work of this nature is disruptive and would like to assure the public and local traders that our contractor is doing everything practically possible to complete this essential new sewerage connection for the new development within the timeframe. A letter drop was completed in early July detailing the nature and duration of the scheme.

“Pedestrian access remains open to all businesses within the lane closure area. NI Water’s project team has made contact with the concerned trader to see if there is anything further that can be done to assist and address any concerns raised.

“The lane closure in place is there to protect the general public, road users and construction workers during the period of this essential works.”

Broughshane Street is open and traders, as always, will appreciate the public’s support especially during the next weeks.

A full road closure is scheduled from 6pm on Saturday 31 July - 8am on Monday 1 August, although access will remain open for pedestrians.


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