Mid Ulster MP calls for 'urgent replacement' bridge at Iniscarn Road

Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy is demanding a replacement bridge
Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy is demanding a replacement bridge

Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy has called for an urgent replacement of the bridge that collapsed on the Iniscarn Road near Draperstown.

The Sinn Fein politician told the Mail that the move would minimise the inconvenience caused to local residents.

Collapsed bridge

Collapsed bridge

He has requested a site meeting with Conor Loughrey, the Western manager for Transport NI, to see what can be done to mitigate the effects that this road closure has had since the collapse of the bridge last week.

Mr Molloy pointed to the ‘huge amount of disruption to local residents, including school children, for whom transport has had to be re-routed, and local farmers whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by this.

"Parents are being asked to drive their children to Cullion school in order to catch the bus to Draperstown, where previously the children could get the bus from a purpose-built bus stop at the end of Crocknamohil Road," he said.

"As we approach winter, a time when transport along rural roads is usually an issue anyway due to weather conditions, this bridge closure is only going to lead to increased inconvenience and a temporary solution needs to be put in place whilst the rebuilding gets underway."

Mr Molloy added: "Questions need to be asked of the Department of Infrastructure about the amount of money that was recently spent renovating the bridge, and how it could be possible for it to collapse so soon after repair works were carried out. I will be asking for an urgent report on the structure of the bridge as it looks like it was reconstructed on poor foundations. In addition to requesting a report on the structure of this particular bridge, I think it is imperative that a structural engineer’s assessment is carried out on all bridges across Mid Ulster to ensure that this does not happen again."