Newry MLAs call for urgent upgrades to A1 carriageway

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Sunday, January 13th, 2019

Local politicians have united in their calls for improvements to the A1 dual carriageway.

Newry and Armagh MLA Conor Murphy and SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty both made the calls after recent accidents on the road.



Speaking to Newry Times, Murphy stated, “Recently it was revealed the Department for Infrastructure planned to upgrade the stretch of road between Sprucefield and Newry.

“Amongst the intended actions are to close all central reservation crossings with no more U-turns or right turning out of junctions onto the A1, 4 new grade separated junctions, 21 junctions will be upgraded to operate on a ‘left in – left out’ only system and 10 other junctions will be closed permanently.”

The Sinn Féin representative continued, “Whilst these improvements will undoubtedly improve road safety and route consistency along the A1; they will, of course, take time to pass through the statutory processes before construction is complete, indications are that at present this work will not commence until 2021.



“However, more than 40,000 vehicles commute along this stretch of carriageway on a daily basis making the A1 a strategically important transport corridor; yet the existing road layout and a mix of agricultural and local traffic criss-crossing the carriageway at dozens of locations along the route undoubtedly increases the risk of a collision,” he insisted.

The local MLA added, “Most recently Sinn Féin asked the Department for Infrastructures (DfI) to explore ways in which additional signage or driver awareness initiatives can be implemented in the meantime to improve the existing road safety features and help raise drivers’ awareness. It is essential that such improvements are carried out.”

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty called for greater urgency in bringing forward the improvement scheme. “We’ve had two major traffic accidents on the A1 this week alone. Thankfully there were no fatalities on this occasion, but there have been too many lives lost on this stretch of road over recent years.



“The Department for Infrastructure have proposals which will improve safety along the route. Elected representatives received a briefing on these proposals from the Divisional Roads Manager just before Christmas.

“The upgrade works are essential and are welcome. However, the scheme is still at development stage with works not planned to commence until 2021. This is too long; we need a greater sense of urgency.

“I know many of the families who have lost loved ones or who have had friends and family seriously injured on the A1.



“All have firmly stated that if the road was safer, there would not have been an accident.

McNulty added, “For this reason alone, I believe every effort must be made now to ensure the road is much safer for all who use the route as soon as possible.”



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