The father of a young boy, who was tragically killed outside Newbridge Chapel 16 years ago, has welcomed a proposal from Roads Service to introduce a 40mph speed limit on the Aughrim Road.

It is understood that the proposal, which will be heard by members of Magherafelt District Council at a meeting tonight, is expected to be adopted. 

Local SDLP councillors have lobbied for a speed restriction for more than eight years after local residents expressed safety concerns.

Speaking last night, Paul Martin, whose son Steven died after being knocked down, said: “This is very good news for the local people of the parish. The stretch of road outside the chapel is treacherous.  It is a very difficult road to cross as cars travel far too fast. Anything that will slow down traffic to make the road safer is needed. It has been needed for years.

“My son, Steven was killed just outside the chapel.  That is something that I have to live with every day. If this speed limit can spare any family the grief that we have had to endure, then it can only be a good thing,” added Mr Martin.

Local Parish Priest Fr John Fox said the speed limit is ‘long overdue.’

He said: “This is something that I would most definitely welcome.  It is very dangerous for parishioners, particularly elderly people and children crossing the road to visit the chapel or the graveyard.

“A speed restriction has been needed for a long time. I have seen occasions when motorists have actually blown their horns rather than slow down, so this is great news,” added Fr Fox.

Henry McGlone, who is in his 80’s and attends Mass every day, said that a restriction was ‘a long time coming.’  

“I use the road every day to go to Mass and I think everyone that crosses that road has been praying for a speed limit. It was first mentioned back in July 2008, so it has been on the agenda since then. It has been a long time coming.

“This road is especially dangerous as there is a brow of a hill. I would have preferred if it had of been reduced to 30mph but any restriction is better than none at all,” added Mr McGlone.

SDLP Councillor Jim Campbell added: “It has taken a long time for common sense to prevail regarding a 40mph speed limit for this busy stretch of road. Traffic on this road is particularly heavy in the evenings as a lot of motorists use it as a fast track into Magherafelt.

“Representations over the last few years by Patsy McGlone, local MLA and myself on behalf of local residents, have ultimately delivered a positive result. It is good news for local residents and they will now be looking to the PSNI to rigorously enforce the new speed limit. Ultimately, however, it will be up to motorists to drive with due care and attention.”

 A spokesperson for the Department for Regional Development last night said: “Roads Service has proposed to provide a new 40mph speed limit on a section of Aughrim Road, Magherafelt. The proposed limit would begin at a point approximately 175 metres west of its junction with Derrygarve Road and extend for approximately 600metres.

 “The proposal has been agreed with PSNI Roads Policing unit and Magherafelt District Council was advised of the matter on January 20. It will take approximately six months to complete the legislative process to provide the speed limit.”  

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