Road work probed after flooding

An investigation is to be launched into the work of a company that built a multimillion-pound underpass in Northern Ireland which flooded, trapping motorists.

The underpass on Belfast's Westlink thoroughfare disappeared below floodwaters on Saturday, just a month after it was opened. An independent team of consultants will now examine how the flooding could have happened.

The plans for an independent inquiry emerged at a special sitting of the Northern Ireland Assembly's Committee for Regional Development where politicians grilled civil servants on the chaos caused by the weekend torrent.

Motorists had to be rescued from their cars as vehicles disappeared under 20ft of water the first time the road scheme - part of a major building project - had to cope with a serious downpour.

A spokesman for the construction firm HMC said it would co-operate fully with the new inquiry. He added that the company had worked closely with the public sector in designing the underpass.

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