Everything possible must be done to ensure there is minimum disruption to business in Portstewart at its busiest time of the year following Sunday’s flood damage to the town’s promenade, locals have said.
Yesterday, the popular coastal resort was coming to terms with the severe flooding which caused damage to the road along its popular seafront.
It is understood NI Water is hoping to have repairs to the road surface finished in time to allow traffic back along the seafront road by tomorrow.
In the meantime pedestrian access will still be permitted along the sea front, allowing businesses to remain open.
Causeway Chamber of Commerce has urged the Department for Infrastructure to prioritise work to make sure the road is reopened as soon as possible.
It said disruption must be kept to a minimum during what is one of the busiest tourist weeks of the year.
“We would urge the Department for Infrastructure to prioritise the maintenance works to fix the road infrastructure on Portstewart promenade to ensure that it can reopen to traffic as soon as possible,” the Chamber said.
“The businesses in Portstewart promenade remain open and can still be accessed. We would encourage local residents and visitors to support local.”
Causeway Coast and Glens Mayor Richard Holmes was onsite yesterday morning and said it was hoped to have the road opened again by tomorrow.
“NI Water are onsite today (Monday) and they have told me they’re hoping to get the road patched up and reopen again by Wednesday to get traffic flowing again,” he said.
“There will be more work required later on in the year for a proper fix.”
Businesses had expressed concern yesterday morning when PSNI said that the promenade would be closed to both vehicles and pedestrians, but that was amended later, with pedestrians and delivery vans permitted.
Several businesses took to social media to inform customers that they would be remaining open despite the road issue.
“We are business as usual today after last night’s storm,” said the Portstewart Clothing Company.
“Access to Portstewart promenade is for pedestrians only. Plenty of parking access around the town, call down and see us.”
Other popular spots, like Morellis ice-cream parlour, also remained open as usual.
In its later statement, the PSNI said: “Roadworks are ongoing on Portstewart promenade due to structural damage caused by adverse weather on Sunday.
"There is limited access to vehicles. However, pedestrians can still access local businesses in the area.”
The PSNI added that the road was expected to be reopened by Friday at the latest.
NI Water said that Sunday’s huge volume of rainfall in a short period of time had caused the sewage system to overflow, causing the problems.
“High intensity rainfall over Portstewart overwhelmed the sewerage system and caused significant damage to the surface of the road at Portstewart promenade. DfI and NI Water worked until late into the night to determine the cause,” NI Water said.
“Initial indications are that an outlet from a storm drain was partially blocked and this, coupled with an intense amount of rainfall, caused water to back up.
"NI Water is working as quickly as possible to reopen the road as soon as possible.”