Game of groans; Road chiefs apologise after white lines are painted at Dark Hedges.
ROAD chiefs have been left red-faced over white lines after being accused of ruining the landmark Dark Hedges with new traffic markings.
It is understood officials admitted to local representatives the lane guides were mistakenly painted under the famous trees, dramatically altering the view which is hugely popular with tourists.
The spot, in the middle of the Bregagh Road, near Armoy, North Antrim, is one of the most-photographed landmarks in Northen Ireland and visitor numbers have soared after it was used as a location in Game Of Thrones.
However, in recent days the broken white lines emerged, dramatically altering the view.
Photographer Angela Cunning said yesterday: "We were all shocked when these lines appeared as it totally changes the type of picture you can take there. I just could not believe what I was seeing.
"Someone joked once, 'They'll be putting double yellow lines at the place because of all the parking on the road'.
"We knew that would never happen but never thought they would put a line up the road. It not only spoils it for photographers but even for those just visiting to view the beautiful scene."
Within hours of roads officials being contacted, highway chiefs held their hands up and admitted the markings were painted by mistake and pledged to remove them by today.
But fans of the Dark Hedges are insisting that when they are burned off the road should be resurfaced to hide any unsightly scorch marks.
If that is the case it is believed the mistake could cost a substantial amount to rectify.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council Michelle Knight-McQuillan said officials told her the lines were put down by mistake and would be removed today, weather permitting.
She added: "They were not part of the contract of recent works there and the contractor continued beyond the road end by mistake apparently. Hopefully removal can be done without a trace."
The Dark Hedges Facebook page said: "Some of you have raised concern about the white lines that have been painted on the Bregagh Road following the recent resurfacing.
"We have spoken to the Causeway Coast & Glens (East) Section Office of DRD Roads Service and have been assured the lines will be removed. Thanks to all of you for your vigilance and support for the Dark Hedges."
A Department of Regional Development spokeswoman added: "Following the completion of a small resurfacing scheme along a 200m stretch of the Bregagh Road at the Dark Hedges, the white lining at the junction with the Ballinlea Road was extended in error.
"The contractor has been instructed to remove the line and it will be burned off.
"Whilst there is the potential for some residual 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.
"DRD will continue to monitor the condition of the surface over the coming weeks and will take further action to repair the road if necessary.
"The Department cannot provide costs for removal of these lines due to commercial sensitivity of contractor's rates. We can, however, advise the removal over this short stretch of road is a relatively low-cost activity."
200 How many metres the resurfacing scheme extends to
EXPLANATION Mayor Michelle Knight-McQuillan
AFTER White lines at famous Dark Hedges
before No road markings at all
screen Shot from Game Of Thrones