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Another step towards improving the safety of the A1 Dual Carriageway has been made today with Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon announcing that the A1 Junctions Phase 2 road improvement scheme will progress.

The Phase 2 scheme will be carried out between Hillsborough and Loughbridkland and will include the provision of new grade seperated junctions, the closing up of all gaps in the central reservation and the provision of a continuous central reserve safety barrier along the whole route.

The central turn off for Loughbrickland on the A1. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
The central turn off for Loughbrickland on the A1. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

The announcement said that Minister Mallon has carefully considered and accepted the outcome of the Public Inquiry and has confirmed progression of the scheme in readiness of funding becoming available.

Making the announcement in a statement to the Assembly today, Minister Mallon said: “I am delighted to announce this key step in the development of the A1 Junctions Phase 2 scheme, which aims to address safety issues along a 25km stretch of the A1 between Hillsborough and Loughbrickland. I am very aware of how important the A1 improvements are for the many people who have expressed their support for the scheme, especially to all those who have lost loved ones. 

"Progressing a scheme of this scale represents significant investment in this strategic road which links Belfast and Dublin and carries around 40,000 vehicles per day. 

"The provision of the upgrade will greatly improve road safety for all of these motorists as well as providing more reliable journey times for the thousands of travellers using the route daily. 

"My announcement to proceed with the scheme also delivers on promises made to our citizens in the New Decade, New Approach agreement, to improve connectivity and safety on this strategically important transport corridor for our island, helping to improve the lives of all our citizens.”

A Public Inquiry was held in March 2020 into the proposed scheme and the Inspector reported his findings to the Department in October 2020. Following an examination of the issues raised, the Minister has accepted the Inspector’s recommendations and has confirmed the scheme should progress, subject to completing all of the necessary statutory processes and securing the necessary funding.

The Department will now publish the formal “Environmental Impact Assessment: Notice to Proceed” and will make the Direction Order and the Stopping Up (of Private Accesses) Order for the scheme. Consultation will continue with key stakeholders particularly landowners affected by the scheme proposals to minimise any related impacts.

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