Northern Ireland news

Gas leak shuts major Newtownabbey route into Belfast

Antrim Road closed .Picture By Hugh Russell.
Paul Ainsworth

A gas leak led to the closure yesterday of a main road in the Newtownabbey area and the local council opening an "emergency rest centre" for affected residents.

Motorists were advised to avoid a stretch of the A6 Antrim Road, the area's main route into Belfast, following the closure of both lanes in the early afternoon.

The road closure and warnings to drivers followed a gas leak in the Moreland Avenue area.

Newtownabbey Sinn Féin councillor Michael Goodman said the incident was caused by a gas pipe being struck close to the Antrim Road.

A PSNI spokesperson said it attended the scene of the leak alongside firefighters, and advised drivers to "seek alternative routes".

The NI Fire and Rescue Service said three fire appliances were tasked to the scene.

The Antrim Road was partially reopened by yesterday evening, but a notice from Trafficwatch NI said the road was likely to remain affected while "permanent repairs are undertaken in the next few days".

A Translink spokesperson said yesterday bus services in the area would be affected "until further notice".

Meanwhile, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said yesterday it had "opened an emergency rest centre at the Valley Leisure Centre for residents affected by the ongoing incident".

A council spokesperson added it was "working closely with the PSNI and other emergency services" following the incident.

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