About

My name is Wesley Johnston, and I have been running the Northern Ireland Roads Site now for seven years. Why? Back in 2005 I became frustrated at how difficult it was to find accurate information on the current roads system here, and on plans for new roads. After many hours of trawling around the web I started to get to know the best places to obtain this information, and I decided to share what I had found on the web. I have been amazed by just how many other people there are who are interested in our road system.

The site initially gave equal airtime to (a) the current road system (b) historic plans and (c) future road schemes. However, feedback from site visitors indicated that future road schemes was by far the most popular side of the site, so this is where I now concentrate my efforts.

My interest in transport, however, extends beyond just keeping track of new road schemes. For example, I have done a lot of research over the past four years into the history of the largely forgotten Belfast Urban Motorway (to be published as a book in late 2012 or early 2013). I have also conducted a lot of research into other aspects of transport planning and much of this I would love to share.

The Northern Ireland Roads Site is intended to be as factual as possible, and I believe that loading it with my own personal opinions would jeopardise the current balance that I strive for on the site. So I have decided to keep running the site as it is now and set up a blog (where you are now!) to provide a platform for discussing a wider range of topics.

Although I often hold my tongue over on the NIRS, I do not intend to always be uncontroversial here, and I hope to provoke a little debate! Please bear with me if the site has teething issues as I am still finding my feet with WordPress.

Please also note that this is a personal web site, and is in no way associated with Roads Service or any other government department. Unless otherwise stated, opinions expressed here are entirely my own or of those who leave comments.

For those who can’t get enough roads chat, have a look at the forums over on SABRE (Society for British and Irish Road Enthusiasts) where you will find like-minded people, plus a wealth of inside knowledge.

Last updated 30 May 2012

Responses

  1. Retired (11 Yrs) Police Officer, work was motorway patrol, traffic division, & normal operational duty. I very much appreciate your site history. I was always of view the A.A. were the originators of road numbers.

    • Could be. In which case you know more than NI Roads Service!

  2. Yesterday (Friday late afternoon 3rd January 2014) saw an horrific fatal accident involving 3 cars on the A5 between Sion Mills and Newtownstewart.
    i join with all those who send deep sympathy to the family of the gentleman who was tragically killed yesterday and to the injured and their families. I was driving north past that spot at that very time the day before, and the traffic was solid in both directions, but the traffic going north on this road at that time on a Friday has to be seen to be believed. Two thirds of it turns off at Strabane for Donegal, if not earlier to go to south Donegal via Clady. The road from Strabane south to Ballygawley is desperately needed, whereas the road from Strabane to Derry is at present of secondary importance, but as soon as the upgrade is completed to Balllygawley, the inevitable increase of traffic from Dublin to Derry (at present driving via Belfast as the preferred choice of route due to the total inadequacy of the A5), it too will become very dangerous if not completed at the same time. As it is the more direct route and shorter, the need for upgrading the A6 will be of lesser importance from a safety aspect, but of course should also have had the bottlenecks upgraded years ago. How could the secretary of the anti-A5 Alliance have written that there is so little traffic that it doesn’t justify building a new road? He doesn’t drive, so was not qualified to comment in my opinion. We are all of us more at risk than need be until the new A5 is ready – condemned to increased numbers of accidents and fatalities while we wait much longer than was planned for a road which was promised and longed for since the closing of the GNRailway in 1965, which up to the bitter end had daily, at least, goods trains with up to 150 wagons and an engine pushing as well as one pulling (I used to count them out of my bedroom window in Sion). All this goods traffic and more ended up in lorries on the A5. Contrary to the statement that stopped the new road starting when planned, that the SAC of the Foyle and its tributaries existed all the way to between Omagh and Ballygawley, when in fact it stops at Newtownstewart – a fundamental mistake which is difficult to understand, there is no legal impediment why therefore the road from Newtownstewart to Ballygawley cannot be built immediately and also the Sion Mills bypass which goes the other side of the village up by the Glebe and nowhere near the river. It always amazes me when I am told by people from Belfast, Antrim and Down that they have NEVER been to Sion or Strabane, when it would have been the main route to Co. Donegal in my youth. They prefer to go via Derry; no wonder we have no economic development. We are considered the back of beyond – unreachable – when this is in fact God’s own country and should be a tourists’ paradise. Celia Ferguson, Sion Mills

  3. Wesley, can I ask you a question.
    I’ve been searching, but can’t find an answer.
    If I park on an URBAN CLEARWAY, not on the footpath, OUTSIDE of its sessional hours where we’re told we can’t park there, is that going to get me a ticket?

    • If it’s outside the Clearway hours I would say no, unless there’s another restriction such as a bus lanes as well as the Clearway. I have in the past parked in Clearways outside their hours with no problems.

  4. Wesley I am a land owner that will be indirectly effected by the new A5 Dual carriage road between Strabane and Newbuildings. Having done a little research (although I agree that it is frustrating to access some information) I have come to the conclusion that the proposed new A5 Dual Carriageway is of a D2AP type. I am inquring if there is enough traffic flow on the current A5 main road to warrant a building of this dual carriage as I can only seem to source traffic flow figures from 2004-2006. Also have the Road service taken into consideration the potential of flooding as part of the road between Strabane and Ballymagory are at considerable risk from flooding. If you can point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated

    • Hello Ray, I’m sorry I have literally only just seen this comment! Yes the A5 is D2AP meaning it’s a dual-carriageway but open to all types of road users. It will be “high quality” meaning no gaps in the central reservation and limited access points. As traffic flows increase there is no specific number beyond which a dual-carriageway is automatically justified. However, 2014 figures show about 12,000 vehicles per day. In terms of capacity, this is below that which a dual-carriageway would become necessary. However it’s important to stress that traffic figures alone are not the only consideration. In this case, two other considerations are firstly road safety – dual-carriageways are considerably safer than single-carriageways, and high-quality ones particularly so. In the past four years, there have been two fatalities on this stretch. And secondly economic development – both the RoI government and Stormont are hoping that a better road will bring more investment to the Derry and Strabane area by making it easier to move between the two and the wider island. In terms of flooding, yes TransportNI have taken this into consideration in some detail in the Environmental Statement and the design includes extensive provision, including embankments and bridges across flood-prone areas, and additional water storage areas to replace areas lost due to the provision of the road. You will be able to read the Environmental Statement here: http://www.a5wtc.com/Environmental-Statement-2016

      • Wesley Thank you for your very detailed response to my question It is very much appreciated Regards Ray Pollock Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2016 19:08:20 +0000 To: raypollock@hotmail.co.uk


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