DUNGANNON commuters will soon be saved from the daily grind of stressful traffic jams, lack of parking and high travelling costs with the announcement of new park and ride schemes at the Dungannon and Coalisland motorway roundabouts.
It is hoped the facilities will ease traffic congestion into Belfast and the problem of hard shoulder car parking at Stangmore and Tamnamore roundabouts .
The new scheme will give commuters and citybound shoppers a chance to park their cars in a secure carpark and travel the rest of their journey by bus.
Currently, commuters who share cars are forced to park along the hard shoulders approaching the roundabout leading to concerns about road safety.
The schemes are part of a major initiative being rolled out across Northern Ireland to ease traffic congestion, especially at peak times and the public are being urged to ditch their cars when possible and opt for trains or buses.
Dungannon Council has called on the local schemes to be given priority.
SDLP Councillor Anthony McGonnell said that preparation work for the Stangmore facility was at an advanced stage.
“The Stangmore Park and Ride facility is something that has been much needed for local commuters and shoppers, as well as for the businesses, residents and land-owners who have been affected by the mass of cars parked every day along the hard shoulders at Stangmore.
“There has been a great pressure for parking places, and the traffic congestion at the roundabout is a hazard to motorists with sightlines badly affected.
“The park and ride will be a first class solution to the problem. We need only look at the great success of the Ballygawley Park and Ride scheme to see that.”
Councillor McGonnel called on the preparation work to be carried out as quickly as possible.
Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy said: “Last year the Department for Regional Development published a Strategic Review of Park and Ride, which recognised the need to integrate with Translink bus and rail services. That report highlighted the importance of Park and Ride in promoting sustainable transport.”
Describing public transport as an attractive alternative for commuters, the minister said: “Park and Ride facilities are rapidly growing in popularity.
“They are part of my Department’s ongoing commitment to encourage sustainable travel. In conjunction with Translink we will continue to improve the availability of Park and Ride and Park and Share facilities throughout Northern Ireland.”