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Start of major safety overhaul for A1 road

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Start of major safety overhaul for A1 road thumbnailTHE long-awaited work to improve the safety of the A1 dual carriageway has started.

The road improvement scheme will see crossing points in the central reservation replaced with four flyover-type junctions.

A continuous central safety barrier will be installed closing some minor road junctions along this stretch of the route.

A number of tragedies have heightened the need for these safety measures. Dromore nurse Muriel Wing lost her life in a collision back in August 2016 and three young students - Peter Hughes, Conall Havern and Gavin Hughes - died in a crash back in the summer of 2015.

The first stage of the work, with an estimated cost of 230,000, will take place at Hillsborough, and is part of phase two of the scheme between Hillsborough roundabout and Loughbrickland.

The work will include the erection of a central safety barrier between the roundabout and the junction at Dromore Road, Hillsborough. To facilitate the installation of the barrier it will be necessary to permanently close all crossing points along this stretch of the carriageway, including the right turn into Moira Road.

The full A1 Junctions phase two Road Improvement Scheme involves a number of further improvements, including the construction of four flyover-type junctions at Listullycurran Road; Gowdystown Road; Skeltons Road/Drumneath Road and Waringsford Road as well as a northbound on slip at Castlewellan Road and a link road from the Milebush Road onto the underpass junction at Hillsborough Road, Dromore. 

Welcoming the changes was the Freight Transport Association who say the 230,000 investment will improve safety and keep traffic moving.

Seamus Leheny, FTA's policy and membership manager in Northern Ireland, said: "FTA has been pressing the government to make these long overdue safety improvements that will permanently close crossing points along this stretch of the A1.

“We hope the Department for Infrastructure will eventually close all crossings on the entire dual carriageway due to the constant risk of slow moving vehicles crossing the carriageway.

“The road is used by 40,000 vehicles a day including a high number of HGVs and FTA members have repeatedly made us aware of the dangers."

Meanwhile, former Infrastructure Minister, Chris Hazzard said this "significant investment" will "greatly improve road safety along this extremely busy stretch of the A1".

“The installation of the central safety barrier is welcome news for the 40,000 drivers who use the road each day.

“This is the first in a number of incremental improvements which may be progressed in advance of the delivery of the full A1 Junctions phase two scheme.

“The works, when complete, will deliver benefits for all road users for many years to come."

Work on the road improvements to the A1 at Hillsborough is due to commence on Monday, 6 February and is expected to be completed within six weeks. 

The temporary traffic management required to carry out the works safely will consist of a 50mph 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 8pm and 6am.

Transport NI 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.

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