Belfast flooding report for Minister


THE NORTH'S Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy is waiting for the findings of an investigation ordered into severe flooding in Belfast that closed the Westlink which connects the North's two principal motorways.

The Broadway section of the dual carriageway is still blocked following Saturday's deluge in which nearly the average monthly rainfall total fell in an afternoon.

The Broadway underpass, just recently completed as part of a £104 million (€132 million) upgrade, was under six metres of water.

It is thought a pumping station beside the road was overwhelmed when a nearby river, diverted because of the road building, overflowed.

Motorists had to be rescued from their cars and five vehicles were completely submerged.

The diversion of around 70,000 cars per day caused traffic problems throughout the city yesterday as the clean-up operation continued, despite further heavy rainfall.

The pumping operation has uncovered a deposit of mud and silt on the underpass nearly one metre deep.

Leo Martin, project manager for construction firm Highway Management Construction, said the probable cause of the flooding was the adjacent river.

The company, which is responsible for the upkeep of the new road for the next 30 years, is due to report to the Minister and to include proposals on measures to prevent a recurrence.

He said the Westlink should be reopened some time today.