£2.6m roads investment welcomed

DESPITE cuts to the Roads Service budget Banbridge district will enjoy a £2.6million investment, an announcement welcomed by Transport Minister Danny Kennedy.

The money will be used for maintenance and improvement schemes, including work on the A1.

Mr Kennedy said, “Last year’s budget for structural maintenance and local transport and safety measures allowed a good range of such schemes to be successfully delivered by Roads Service.

“Roads Service’s budgets for road maintenance and improvement schemes are greatly reduced this year, in line with the four year budget agreed by the Executive. However, Roads Service is using its available resources effectively and continuing to deliver quality public services.”

Work is continuing on options for four grade separated junctions on the A1 dual carriageway. This project will also provide a central safety barrier, in the central reservation between Hillsborough and Loughbrickland.

The Minister also welcomed Roads Service’s proposed programme for the year ahead on local transport and safety measures. These include localised widening at the entrance of Aughnavallog cottages, on the B7 Ballyroney Road, Rathfriland. A detailed design is progressing for Gospel lane, Banbridge. This will provide an alternative road link between Bridge Street and Rathfriland Street. Scheme delivery on both schemes is subject to land acquisition and availability of finance.

Speaking at the meeting, Network Development Manager Reynold Nicholson welcomed last year’s record expenditure on structural maintenance which allowed Roads Service to deliver many much needed projects. A total of 61km of resurfacing was completed in the Council area.

Road improvement schemes delivered last year included improved visibility for motorists on the A50 Banbridge Road, Gilford; and road widening with a junction improvement at Tullyear Avenue, Banbridge. In addition a number of resurfacing schemes were delivered including A50 Katesbridge Road, Katesbridge; B3 Grovehill Road, Loughbrickland and Church Street and Market square, Dromore.