THE CITY is buzzing today as Derry prepares to welcome the Olympic Torch to the city as part of the London 2012 Olympic Relay journey.
It is expected that the streets will be lined with spectators today as they turn out to watch a team of local people carry the torch through the city, before its arrival at the St Columb’s Park Stadium.
The torch will follow a designated route taking in both the Waterside and Cityside, including the city centre, and spectators are encouraged to turn out to cheer on the local participants.
A special Big Flame Festival Parade headed up by some of the city’s own former Olympic heroes, will leave Derry City Council Offices at 4pm, making its way along Queen’s Quay before heading over the Peace Bridge to the stadium. Thousands are expected to attend the ticket only evening events which kick off at 5pm before the flame arrives to light the Olympic Cauldron.
Motorists are advised that there will be no parking on the St Columb’s Park or Ebrington during the evening celebrations but there will be allocated parking within walking distance of the park.
The Peace Bridge will be closed to the public from 6pm ahead of the arrival of the Olympic Torch, so people intending to use the route should make their way to St Columb’s Park early. The Waterside entrances to St Columbs Park stadium area will open at 4pm for ticketed entry and remain open for the duration of the event. St.Columbs park will be open as usual on Monday as the Carnival of Colours continue their weekend of events running from 1-5pm. Alongside which a concert titled ‘Where Traditions Meet’ will be held in Ebrington from 1-4pm also.
Due to the influx of people expected to turn out to watch the torch’s arrival, people are encouraged to take their places along the route early. Roads may be temporarily closed as the torch makes its way along the route, but traffic disruption will be kept to a minimum.
Motorists are advised to avoid the following roads between 5.15pm and 6.45pm on Monday evening. The Torch will arrive in the Waterside and will then follow the route from: Crescent Link - Altnagelvin Roundabout - Dungiven Road - Dales Corner - Limavady Road.
It will also travel along the Culmore Road from 5.50pm in the direction of Strand Road to: Harbour Quay Roundabout – Expressway - Water Street - Foyle Street - Foyleside Roundabout - John Street - Carlisle Place - Carlisle Road - Ferryquay Street - The Diamond roundabout - Shipquay Street - Expressway and on to the Peace Bridge.
Motorists are also advised that they will not be able to park on roads or streets where the Torch Relay is expected to pass on Monday. Parking will be available throughout the day at the following locations: William Street, Victoria Market, Queen’s Quay North, Strand Road, Carlisle Road, Bishop Street, Society Street, Foyle Road, Foyle Street, and Shantallow Health Centre on the Racecourse Road.
Parking will also be available at Foyleside Shopping Centre, West and East, Quayside Shopping Centre, Sainsbury’s carpark, Magee carpark, and Harper’s Quay. Most of the carparks have extended opening hours until after 9pm, and many are operating at reduced rates throughout the day. However parking at Sainsbury’s will still operate under the new restrictions.
Parking will be available in the Waterside at Railway Yard, Spencer Road, Simpsons Brae, Alfred Street, Duke Street, and Altnagelvin at the Northern Bank.
Anyone planning on attending any of the day’s events should check the Derry City Council website before they leave the house, and tune in to local radio for regular traffic updates.
Entry to the evening celebrations is by ticket only. Tickets are free and are available from the Millennium Forum Box Office on 02871 264455.
For more information about all the events taking place over weekend, check out the following website www.derrycity.gov.uk/BigFlameFestival
Pictured are St Cecilia’s pupil Siun Heaney and her mum Siobhan who will both be running as part of the London Olympic Torch Relay when it comes to the city on Monday next.