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Calls for Portadown Road dual carriageway leads to action from MLA

Calls by Armagh I followers for the provision of a full dual carriageway between Richhill and Portadown will be brought to the Minister responsible.

The dualling of the A3 was first proposed in a consultation document back in July 2006, with an estimated cost at that time of £30 million.

It was given the go-ahead in April of 2008, with a traffic study showing it fell just short of the 18,000 vehicles a day which warranted provision of a dual carriageway.

But, despite the fact the scheme was approved and had been given a target completion date of 2018, there has been no movement whatsoever.

Earlier today, we reported on a £200,000 roadworks scheme due to get underway on the Armagh Road at Portadown from next Monday.

The report – which warned of traffic delays and disruption during the course of the two weeks scheme – prompted angry comments from local road users insisting the provision of a dual carriageway was long overdue.

Those calls are now to be raised directly with Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard.

The stretch of road was to be anywhere up to six-and-a-half kilometres, running from the roundabout on the Armagh Road at Portadown as far as the Stonebridge roundabout.

There was also the possibility of extending it for a kilometre beyond Stonebridge.

The scheme was included in the ‘Expanding the Strategic Road Improvement Programme’ document which also brought forward the Sprucefield flyover.

The Richhill to Portadown plan would have included a standard dual-carriageway linking the two with a number of points crossing the central reservation.

The dual plan has now been all but forgotten.

But tomorrow (Wednesday), a Newry and Armagh MLA will write to the Roads Minister to raise the issue after you raised your concerns.

DUP representative William Irwin said it was an issue which his party had raised a number of times.

He told Armagh I: I think it’s the busiest single carriageway in Northern Ireland, certainly one of them. It definitely warrants looking at it again.

“At one stage there was talk of making it a dual carriageway out the length of Stonebridge, not the whole way to Armagh.

“I suppose things have changed in terms of budget and finance but, in the long term, it’s something that needs looked at, there’s no doubt about it.

“It would be challenging enough with a number of businesses right on the edge of the road, but if there’s a will, there’s a way.

“I will raise this with the Minister and put it to him in writing. If there’s no effort to do something, it will never happen. It’s like everything in life, it you don’t make a point to do something when you get up in the morning, you’ll never do it. It’s the same for the small thing as it is for the bigger things.

“I will put that in writing to the Minister tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, local Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan has welcomed the £200,000 road improvements scheme which is about to get underway.
Resurfacing will take place on approximately 700 metres of the A3 Armagh Road east of Vicarage Road and is expected to be complete by Friday, October 7.
“This is a very welcome announcement by Minister Chris Hazzard,” he said. ” The A3 provides a vital link between Armagh and Portadown. The improvements in the Vicarage Road will serve people in the area for many years.

“This project is yet another outworking in the area of Sinn Fein’s commitment to improving the infrastructure that fell apart under Danny Kennedy’s disastrous tutelage.

“While I am delighted to see this work begin I and my colleagues will continue to fight for much needed infrastructure improvements in the Armagh area.”

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