The Department for Regional Development’s TransportNI has revealed the preferred option in its multi-million pound scheme to improve the junctions on the A1 carriageway from the Hillsborough roundabout to Loughbrickland.
The preferred scheme includes proposals to close up all openings in the central median and installing a continuous central safety barrier between the Hillsborough roundabout and Loughbrickland,
The scheme also includes plans to provide four flyover-type junctions, including a north bound on-slip at Castlewellan Road, Banbridge and a link between thee existing underpass junction at Hillsborough Road, Dromore and Milebush Road.
TransportNI also propose closing some minor road junctions along this stretch of the route,
The preferred option is estimated to cost in the region of £40-50 million.
The next stage in the scheme development includes completing the detailed design and taking the proposal through the Environmental Statement, Direction Order and Vesting Order statutory procedures, a process which is likely to include public inquiries.
Delivery of this scheme remains subject to it clearing the statutory procedures, having a satisfactory economic appraisal and is dependent on future funding levels.
A leaflet about the preferred option is being circulated to all local elected representatives within Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
TransportNI also intend to distribute leaflets about the scheme to all 20,000 residents within the postcode areas covering the affected stretch of the A1.
Banbridge Councillor Glenn Barr welcomed the news that the A1 junction improvement scheme was moving forward.
“It is good to see that the legacy of Road Minister Danny Kennedy is moving forward,” said Mr Barr.
“The health and safety of road users and local residents along this stretch of the A1 is of paramount importance and I welcome the fact that this multi-million pound improvement scheme is now progressing.”
Mr Barr also welcomed the fact that the road scheme would bring an economic boost to the local area.
“The extensive scheme of work is going to bring in jobs locally,” continued Mr Barr,
“People working on the road will spend money locally as well and this will hopefully bring financial benefits to the villages and towns close to the work along the stretch of the road from Hillsborough to Loughbrickland.”