Local Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd says he is putting pressure on the Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard to ensure a full road scheme earmarked for the A1 will still go ahead.
Mr O’Dowd, who is concerned about the number of tragic accidents on the dual carriageway, said he will continue to work with Mr Hazzard to ensure that funding for the scheme be released to the Department of Infrastructure.
At present Transport NI is currently working on a £50m scheme which includes four flyover type junctions that will close up all openings in the central median and installation of a continuous central safety barrier between Hillsborough Roundabout and Loughbrickland.
Mr Hazzard said: “The preferred option for the proposal was confirmed late in 2015 and the junctions will be constructed at the Listullycurran Road; Gowdystown Road; Skeltons Road/Drumneath Road; and Waringsford Road.
“In addition, the proposal includes the provision of a northbound on-slip at Castlewellan Road at Banbridge, a link between the existing underpass junction at Hillsborough Road, Dromore and Milebush Road and the closing of some minor road junctions along this section of the A1.”
He went on, “A significant amount of development work has already been progressed anSd the current phase of this work involves the completion of the design and taking the proposal through the statutory procedures, which will likely include a Public Inquiry.
“Progression to construction remains subject to the proposal clearing the statutory procedures, having a satisfactory economic appraisal and, given other competing priorities, is dependent on funding being made available in future budget settlements.
“A strategy is also being developed to implement incremental improvements in advance of the full proposal.
The first such improvement involves the closure of the median at Hillsborough to prevent the right turn movement for southbound traffic into the Moira Road and the erection of a central safety barrier between Hillsborough Roundabout and the flyover type junction at Dromore Road, Hillsborough.”
In conclusion Mr O’ Dowd said: “I will continue to work with Minister Hazzard on this matter.”