Road markings at Dark Hedges a burning issue no more as workers rectify blunder
Road markings mistakenly painted at the famous Dark Hedges in north Antrim were removed yesterday.
Smoke filled the air as workers carrying specialist equipment burned off the white lines on Bregagh Road, near Armoy.
Locals, photographers and tourists were left outraged after the markings were painted earlier this week in error.
Within hours of being contacted, Transport NI admitted it had made a mistake and promised to remove them.
Michelle Knight-McQuillan, mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, said she was pleased the lines had been burned off and hoped no scorch marks would be left behind.
"Transport NI assured me they would be removed, and this has been honoured," she added.
"There has been a lot of response on social media about these lines, and that just proves the value that people put on this beautiful asset."
Landscape photographer Chris Ibbotson added: "It's the most photographed road in Ireland and perhaps the UK.
"You just need to flick through Google Images to see how it is rapidly becoming a victim of its own success.
"It is great that these awful white lines have been removed, but it is just a start. Serious effort needs to be made to secure the future of this beautiful natural attraction.
"Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, the Department for Regional Development and conservation trusts must work together and provide proper care, and more importantly proper vehicular access, of this road before it is gone. There has been a rapid (decline) here since 2012. Parking facilities would be a good start."
Fellow photographer Angela Cunning, who has won awards for her pictures of the Dark Hedges, described the removal of the white lines as great news.
"I have a lot of photographer friends who will welcome this," she added. "I hope this also highlights the importance of keeping this landmark a treasured one."
Ahead of the removal of the road markings, a DRD spokeswoman said: "Following completion of a small resurfacing scheme along a 200-metre stretch of the Bregagh Road at the Dark Hedges, the white lining at the junction with the Ballinlea Road was extended in error.
"While there is the potential for some marking to the carriageway as a result of the removal, we are confident that, given the time of year and the number of vehicles using the Bregagh Road, any such marks will disappear soon."