Concerns about heavy congestion following major changes to west Belfast arterial route

The new traffic light system at the former Kennedy Way roundabout. Picture by Mal McCann

THE department for infrastructure will "continue to monitor the operation" of a busy arterial route in west Belfast following major changes to a junction.

Traffic lights now adorn the busy Kennedy Way junction and it appears the change is taking its toll on daily commuters.

Motorists have raised concerns about the heavy congestion along the route since the changes came into operation on August 28.

The developments are part of the Belfast Rapid Transit project, which aims to ease traffic chaos on the junction of Kennedy Way and the Andersonstown Road.

However, since the new 'signalised junction' began, commuters have described how they have been caught in heavy congestion along the route.

One commuter commented on social media that the "new Kennedy Way traffic lights are a disaster".

"27 minutes to travel 200 yards at 11. I can only imagine 5pm," he added.

Another driver said: "What a nightmare Kennedy Way is and the top of the Andytown Road", while another said: "I thought when you change a road layout its to improve traffic congestion not make it worse".

Sinn Féin councillor Steven Corr said he had received complaints from motorists.

"People have been experiencing problems with traffic both ways," he said.

"The issues have obviously been made worse in recent days with school children returning to school, and then yesterday's rain also would have added to the problems."

But he added: "It's hoped traffic will alleviate soon and what we have been telling people is that we need to be patient and try to ride out the frustrations, don't take unnecessary risks and respect the bus lanes."

A department of infrastructure spokesman said: "The primary aim of the signalisation is to improve safety, and in particular the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

"The change will also improve the control of traffic movements and facilitate priority for public transport."

He added: "Whilst the majority of the work including the commissioning of the signals has been completed, there is still some work ongoing around the junction and the department will continue to monitor the operation of the junction over the coming weeks and months to optimise the traffic signal timings.

"The department is grateful for the patience of those who use the junction and would ask drivers to take extra care until they are familiar with the new layout."

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