The Department for Regional Development (DRD) is to reinstate safety measures at a fatal accident black spot on a main road in Belfast.
It has emerged that an original crash barrier was removed, even though the Roads Service could not find out why it had been put there in the first place.
It had been in place following a fatal crash in 1977.
It was removed three weeks before Enda Dolan died after he was hit by a van on the Malone Road last October.
According to documents received through a Freedom of Information request made by the BBC, officials from the DRD Roads Service – now called Transport NI – ordered the barrier to be removed, even though they were unable to find out why it had been originally put there.
The documents show communication between officials discussing the barrier.
One asked: “Have you been able to find out why this barrier is at this location? I would like some more background before we remove it.”
Another official replied: “We have not been able to find anyone who knows the history of why it was installed.”
The barrier was later removed and not replaced.
According to a newspaper report from 1977, the barrier was erected at the bend following the death of two girl students in a car accident.
The headline on the story from then reads: “Barrier plan where two girls died”.
Jim Beggs, who lives in the area, said the DRD would have found out the history of the crash site if they had asked him.
He said: “There are people living in this street for 40 years. The people in this street know about the horrible accident that took place in 1977, a result of which the barrier was put in place. They did not ask me.”
Looking for answers
Since Enda Dolan’s death, his family, students at Queen’s University, where the 18-year-old was studying, and politicians have all called for the barrier to be reinstated, fearing another tragic accident.
The DRD has said arrangements are now being made to install new safety measures at the spot where the County Tyrone teenager was knocked down.
However, the barrier will not be replaced like-for-like. The kerb will be raised to deflect any traffic away from the pavement and a new waist-high fence will also be built.
A DRD spokesperson said: “Arrangements are now being made to put in safety measures at this location. This will take the form of a high containment kerb and vision panel guardrail. This work will be completed as quickly as possible.
“Detailed costs of the proposed works are currently being worked up in conjunction with the detailed design.”
UKIP MLA David McNarry, who sits on the DRD committee at Stormont, said it will be looking for answers.
He said: “If the barrier was put there in the first place, it had to be there for a reason.”
The Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy was unavailable for comment.
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