The Department for Regional Development’s TransportNI have revealed the preferred option in their 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 the 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 Lisburn and Castlereagh City 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.
The progression of the scheme has been welcomed by Lisburn Councillor John Palmer. “This is excellent news that this scheme is being progressed,” he said. “I have recently complained to TransportNI about vehicles making turns at unapproved farm gaps and emergency crossing points. I also highlighted the acceleration lane from Moira Road, Hillsborough which I believe is too short and during peak times does not give drivers enough distance to safely build up speed to merge onto the fast flowing A1 traffic.”