The SDLP MLA for Upper Bann Dolores Kelly has hit out at the lack of progress on ‘essential’ improvements to the A1 dual carriageway.
“The A1 is a treacherous road and in recent months four people have been killed on it,” she said.
“Everyone remembers the three friends who died in August and most recently well-known retired firefighter Eugene McNally. We have long called for improvements to be made to its safety.
“Yet despite this, the Minister for Regional Development told me in the Assembly that she has not set aside any money for it to be carried out. In fact, Michelle McIlveen revealed the design work for this has not even been completed and the Department has yet to conduct the Public Inquiry.
“I do not find it acceptable that six months on from calling for urgent action to be taken to prevent further deaths on this road, work hasn’t even begun.
The DRD defended the progress of the work.
A spokesperson said: “The A1 Junctions Phase 2 road improvement scheme involves further improvements to the A1 between Hillsborough Roundabout and Loughbrickland. DRD is developing a long term strategy for the phasing and delivery of Phase 2, however, as this is likely to be a number of years away and is estimated to cost in the range £40-£50million a strategy to implement incremental improvements that can be progressed in advance is also being developed.
“The first incremental improvement is at Hillsborough and involves the closure of the median to prevent the right turn movement for southbound traffic into Moira Road. This work will include closing the median and erecting a central safety barrier between Hillsborough Roundabout and the existing flyover type junction at Dromore Road, Hillsborough. TNI are currently preparing a cost estimate for this work.
“It is expected this process will take in the order of nine months to complete, although this could be extended dependent on the number and nature of objections received.”