DUP's Jim Shannon calls for Transport NI probe after several crashes on Co Down road

A DUP MP has called for an investigation before repeated crashes at an accident blackspot in Co Down leads to further deaths.  he Portaferry Road just outside Newtownards on the banks of Strangford Lough has seen numerous crashes in recent years. Strangford MP Jim Shannon was speaking after another crash on the road on Monday.

A man in his 30s was taken to hospital after a car with three people on board came off the road and crashed onto the beach. Just last month three people were taken to hospital after their car left the Portaferry Road and plunged into Strangford Lough. In January 2020, a woman in her 40s was killed after her car was found on its roof on the banks of the lough, while a Translink bus crashed onto the beach after coming off the road in December 2015.

The driver received minor injuries, but no passengers were on board at the time. Strangford MP Jim Shannon said the high numbers of incidents on the road highlighted the need for an investigation by Transport NI, who are responsible for Northern Ireland’s roads. Transport NI falls under the control of the Department of Infrastructure (DfI).

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A car which crashed on the same road in 2020

A car which crashed on the same road in 2020

Mr Shannon said there had been particular issues near the Newtownards Sailing Club and the Barrs Bay pavilion.

“I can remember a spate of accidents when I was first elected to the Assembly around 20 years ago and the accidents continue on this stretch,” the DUP MP said. “The road service erected barriers which have been helpful, but I do feel we need a thorough investigation to ascertain the reason for these continued accidents and what more can be done. “I am so thankful that no one was seriously injured but I am aware that this could be a very different story if the tide was in and I believe we need to do something before this story turns very bad.

“I have made contact with Transport NI and will be seeing what can now be done and my thoughts are with the driver and occupants and I do hope they are doing well.” On Monday, a blue Volkswagen was left crumpled and on its side after the crash close to the sailing club at around 4.30pm. The Coastguard from Bangor attended the scene along with police and the ambulance service.

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DUP's Jim Shannon calls for Transport NI probe after several crashes on Co Down road

A bus which crashed on the same road in 2015

A bus which crashed on the same road in 2015

Police said all three in the car at the time escaped serious injury. “The circumstances of the collision will now be subject to a police investigation,” a PSNI statement added.

“Enquiries are continuing and police would ask anyone who may have information to contact police on 101, quoting reference number 1290 08/02/20.

A DfI spokesman said the department awaited the outcome of the police investigation.

“As soon as we receive this, we will consider any identified actions for the department,” the spokesman said. “We are very sorry to hear of the collision and hope that all involved are making a good recovery.”

Belfast Telegraph

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