Belfast Telegraph

Attacks on water staff disrupt sewerage work

By Fionnuala O'Kane

Night-shift water workers have been badly shaken following attempts to set fire to their lorries by arsonists in Londonderry.

Overnight work being carried out by NI Water is now to be abandoned because of the terrifying spate of attacks.

Engineers were carrying out essential sewer improvements on the Abercorn Road when they were set upon by a gang last week. The extent of damage to the equipment has resulted in substantial costs.

It’s not clear what the motivation for the attack is.

The work has now been rescheduled to the daytime, which will see major disruption to traffic as the road will be closed and a diversion put in place.

NI Water project manager of the scheme, Ross Funston, said the risk to workers was too great to continue working at night.

“Where possible, NI Water carries out work on many major schemes throughout the night to avoid potential traffic disruption. Over 60% of the work carried out in the city over the last year has been completed at night.

“However, night crews have recently been subjected to attacks which have resulted in very expensive equipment being damaged and work left uncompleted.

“In light of these attacks, the current work on Abercorn Road will be completed during the day. The subsequent road closure is likely to cause some disruption to local residents, however, the safety of our workers is paramount. I can assure the residents and local businesses in the area that we will endeavour to complete the work as quickly as possible.”

The scheme is part a wider ongoing essential sewerage programme in the city to improve the infrastructure to reduce the risk of flooding.

Daytime work will begin from today until this Friday from 8am to 6pm daily.

A diversion route will be clearly signposted.

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