A WEST Belfast MLA has said he will continue to lobby the Department for Infrastructure to make funding a top priority to develop the Cutts Junction, after four road traffic collisions in a two-week period.

Between December 26 and January 9 four road traffic collisions occurred on the McKinstry Road. No serious injuries have been reported but police have charged one man in relation to one of the incidents on December 26.

A 47-year-old man has been charged with a number of offences including driving with excess alcohol in breath, failing to stop where an accident occurred causing damage, failing to report and failing to remain. 

Sinn Féin MLA Danny Baker has said the Cutts junction “has been a very dangerous spot for many years".

The MLA confirmed the “design work is done” but that funding is needed for the work to be carried out. The upgrade will cost upwards of 1.8 million, he said.

“We don’t want to see any more accidents. It has always been a road that needed upgraded especially when the Colin got bigger. You look at Lagmore built over the last 20 years. There is so much more traffic on that road and there is the school as well. The school have been campaigning for over ten or 15 years.”

“When I came in as a councillor there was a couple of accidents and people from the Colin area were contacting me asking if I could look into this and I did. Then Gary McCleave got elected not long after so both of us were working on it and what we ended up securing was design work for it. Even that wasn’t done, there was no work at that time that had been done. So, the design work got done and got completed.”

In terms of what is required to develop and improve the road, the MLA said: “The road needs to be widened and the junction needs completely upgraded."

The MLA added: “When John O’Dowd was Minister for Infrastructure, myself and Gary had him out. Design work was there with all the top officials, and we talked it through and my sense of it is that it is very much on a priority to get done but it does now fall down to finding that money but what you saw over Christmas there is the urgency that is needed because they were bad accidents.

“We’ll keep lobbying the Department, we don’t want to see any more accidents. There has been a lot of work done over the past couple of years. The work we got done around the McKinstry roundabout with the pedestrian lights was again another oversight that was done at the time not really appreciating the amount of people that are living in that area.

“It doesn’t help now when we don’t have a Minister to talk to, it’s difficult. If you have a minister there they can understand it, see the dangers and rubber stamp it. I’m concerned without ministers in place that it could take longer. I’m not saying that I know the money is there anyway but it means there is someone there taking decisions.”