The chief executive of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, who was left badly injured after a crash in Co Down last week, has called for something to be done about the accident blackspot after a further two collisions occurred in as many hours on Thursday.
Fire crews, police and the ambulance service were called to all three accidents at the Banbridge Road in Gilford, a “lethal” stretch according to local residents who said they face road closures each week due to accidents.
Roisin Foster suffered broken ribs and toes as well multiple bruising when her car collided with a lorry at a sharp bend on the road a week ago.
The 57-year-old from Scarva described her trauma after having to climb over to the passenger side, force the door open and crawl away from the car.
“It was very traumatic,” said Mrs Foster.
“I am very conscious that I could have been killed.
“I feel I am a psychologically strong person certainly given the work I do, but this has really shaken me up.”
When Roisin’s husband Ian came home on Thursday evening to tell her there had been two further crashes on the road they were both dismayed.
Police confirmed the road reopened at 3.50pm after the first accident on Thursday and was closed again at 4.55pm to deal with a second crash.
In the first accident a female in her 30s had to be cut from the car, and a short time later four people were taken to hospital after a second separate crash.
Mr Foster said he cannot understand why no action is being taken on the road despite the high number of accidents.
“There seems to be a lack of motivation to do anything about it,” he said.
“It doesn’t seem to be ringing any alarm bells with whoever should be dealing with it.”
Local resident Niall McCartan, whose driveway is opposite a memorial for a person who died in a crash there in 2008, said more needs to be done to tackle the problem on that stretch of road.
He has spoken to Roads Service a number of times in recent weeks, following on from a meeting with them in October.
Speaking shortly after that meeting, he said: “This stretch of the road is lethal.
“We have spoken to the police and DRD on many occasions to have something done about it. There have been crashes – major and minor – on an average of once a week for years.”
Mr McCartan yesterday told the News Letter a promise of signage on the road may help but felt that it was not enough to address the issue properly.
“That small stretch of the road seems to be slippy,” he said.
“In the long-term the bend probably needs to be altered but I can’t see that happening for a while. Maybe a new non-slip surface might help for now, along with a reduction of the speed limit.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Regional Development said they are working with the police to improve road safety.
“Roads Service are currently liaising with PSNI about road safety improvements in this area,” said a spokeswoman.
“We already have plans in place to erect new bend warning and chevron signs with ‘SLOW’ road markings. Marker posts will also be erected to help define the edge of carriageway. It is anticipated that this work will be completed early in 2014.
“Roads Service will also assess the location in conjunction with the PSNI to determine if there are any further measures that can be considered which will improve road safety in this area.”
During a public consultation about the proposals in October it was indicated improvements would take six to eight weeks.