Local political representatives have welcomed news that Phase 2 of the A1 junctions road improvement scheme will proceed but the urgency of the work has been emphasised. The decision was announced today by Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon.

Welcoming the news MLA, Justin McNulty explained "These junction upgrade works are badly needed, and as someone who travels that road regularly I see at first hand the real dangers these junctions pose.

Central crossings on the A1 between Loughbrickland and Hillsborough are to be closed. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Central crossings on the A1 between Loughbrickland and Hillsborough are to be closed. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

"In welcoming this process, my thoughts are also with the families who lost loved ones on this stretch of road.  I hope they get comfort from knowing that other families won’t suffer as they have and I thank them for their determined and dignified campaigning." 

Justin McNulty MLA

Mr McNulty continued "These works run from Loughbrickland to Hillsborough but I hope that in due course we will see further improvements from Loughbrickland to Newry.  This is an extremely busy and dangerous stretch of road and all improvements are very welcome.

"This phase of the A1 Upgrade Works will now progress to the vesting of lands, the publication of the Environmental Impact Assessment Notice to Proceed and for the Executive to allocate the monies needed to fund the project."

Newry and Armagh MLA Liz Kimmins added that work on the long-awaited A1 safety upgrade must begin urgently. Speaking after the Department for Infrastructure announced plans to progress the A1 junctions phase two improvement scheme, Liz Kimmins said “I welcome this decision on the A1 safety upgrade following the findings from the public inquiry held last year. This is an issue I have repeatedly raised to the Department for Infrastructure and the minister. The A1 is one of the most dangerous roads on our island and we need to see the necessary safety improvements delivered as soon as possible.

Liz Kimmins MLA

Ms Kimmins added “Now, the minister needs to prioritise funding for this project and ensure no stone is left unturned to deliver it. We have been waiting far too long for a scheme which is crucial to making one of Ireland’s most dangerous roads safer, should help save lives and prevent further tragedy on this road."

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