A1 road safety upgrade moves a step closer

The A1 at Hillsborough roundabout. Pic by Google
The A1 at Hillsborough roundabout. Pic by Google

Proposed works to improve safety on the A1 dual carriageway have moved a step closer after the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) announced plans for further public consultation on the scheme.

The DfI is seeking the views of local people on proposed road improvements along the busy route between Hillsborough Roundabout and Loughbrickland.

The proposals include:

• The closure of all gaps in the central reserve and the provision of a continuous central reserve safety barrier;

• The grade separation of four junctions - Listullycurran Road, Gowdystown Road, Skeltons Road/Drumneath Road, and Waringsford Road

• A northbound on-slip to the A1 from Castlewellan Road, Banbridge

• Closure of nine selected side roads with improvements to the remainder of the junctions which will operate as left-in/left-out only

• A link road between Milebush Road and the Hillsborough Road, Dromore grade separated junction

• Closure of all mainline bus stops with new bus stops provided at the four new grade separated junctions.

The DfI has announced that a series of community consultation events will take place later this month to seek further views on the developed project design and scheme progression, taking account of representations made by the community following the previous consultation in summer 2017.

The meetings will take place on:

• Thursday, February 15 from 11am - 8pm in Banbridge Old Town Hall

• Monday, February 19 from 11am - 8pm in Dromore Town Hall

• Wednesday, February 21 from 11am - 8pm in Hillsborough Court House

Urging members of the public to attend, a DfI spokesperson said: “The consultation exercise offers an opportunity for the public and other stakeholders to engage with the Department for Infrastructure and members of the project team on the design of the preferred option as well as the development process, including preparation of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Statutory Orders.

“The public may make representations by letter, email, via the department website or by using feedback forms provided at the community consultation events or at the unattended public displays.”

Meanwhile, work on a £200,000 road safety improvement scheme on the A1 at Banbridge will commence on Sunday, February 11, the department has confirmed.

The scheme involves the erection of a central reserve safety barrier between Springwell Loanin and Bannview Road Bridge on the Banbridge Bypass and is expected to be complete within three weeks.

To facilitate installation of the barrier, all crossing points in the central reserve along this stretch of the road will be permanently closed.

“The temporary traffic management required to carry out the works safely will consist of a 40mph speed restriction and lane closures adjacent to the central median in both the northbound and southbound carriageways. To minimise disruption to motorists, the lane closures are scheduled for overnight, between 7:30pm and 6am Monday to Friday and all day at the weekends. The 40mph speed restriction will apply at all times for the safety of road users ‎until works are fully completed,” a DfI spokesperson explained.

“The department has carefully programmed the works operations and traffic management arrangements in order to minimise any inconvenience to the public, however motorists should be aware that some delays may be expected and that additional time should be allowed when planning any journeys.”

The A1 carries approximately 40,000 vehicles per day. The southern section of the road has been upgraded to a high standard dual carriageway and a number of flyover-type junctions were previously provided at strategic locations between Hillsborough and Loughbrickland, under the previous A1 Junctions Phase 1 road improvement scheme.