Work is due to begin today (Monday) on a bridge destroyed during last August’s severe flooding.
The Camlough Road, near Carrickmore, has remained closed since the collapse of a bridge in late August last year, amid record rainfall and swelling riverbanks.
The surging torrents caused devastation in the Glenelly Valley and across the Sperrins, destroying farmland, roads and killing livestock.
In November, local roads chiefs put the estimated local damage in the region of £3m. In a meeting with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, senior officers from DfI Roads revealed that 89 bridges required urgent repairs following the floods. Around 26 bridges in the Omagh area were seriously damaged.
Two bridges, on the Crockanboy Road near Greencastle, and on the Camlough Road, were destroyed.
But while work on the Crockanboy Road was completed at the end of September, the £100,000 repairs to the Camlough Road have stalled over problems securing a contractor. That issue appears to be resolved, with FP McCann now appointed to carry out the work.
West Tyrone MLA Declan McAleer said DfI Roads have confirmed that work to replace the bridge will begin today (Monday).
He also welcomed the fact that the new design will realign the road, making it safer for road users. The road is expected to reopen within four weeks. DfI have said, “Further work may require the need for traffic control.”
Welcoming the development on Friday, Mr McAleer said the repairs will come as a major relief to the many people who use the Camlough Road on a daily basis.
“I was present on the night of the flash flood and was shocked to see this bridge and road literally disintegrating in front of my eyes,” said the Sinn Féin MLA.
“For the past six months since the bridge was knocked out, this has been a major inconvenience for farmers whose land straddles either side of the road. It has also impacted school bus runs, people visiting family and going to work.
“Unfortunately, as a result of the diversion, the Granagh Lane and Loughmacrory Road are now in a very poor state as a result of the additional traffic. I have asked DfI Roads to take remedial action to repair these routes as well.”