Urgent upgrades to “one of the busiest roads in Ireland” have been called for by elected reps labelling it a “death trap” carriageway.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council approved a motion this week by Slieve Croob Alliance councillor, Andrew McMurray to seek a priority status for the A1 dual carriageway following delays by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) since 2021.
‘Phase 2’ of the improvement scheme will work to close gaps in central reservations from Sprucefield in Lisburn to Loughbrickland, with the local authority now making a plea to extend the new safety measures to Newry as a “matter of life and death”.
Crotlieve SDLP rep Declan McAteer said: “The improvements for the road seem to have gone off the radar, which is quite shameful considering the amount of casualties we have seen involving serious accidents.
“We see the officers out from Roads Service (DfI) with their cameras at the scene, but then nothing really happens and there is absolutely no reason why this scheme shouldn’t have been prioritised.
“This is a matter of life and death in many occasions on one of the busiest roads in Ireland.
“We are living in the dark ages up here, it’s a dual carriageway that is a death trap.
“So, we have got to get real and get modern and I am calling for the next phase to be certainly put out there and worked upon at this stage.
“I absolutely back the proposal in the motion to commence Phase 2 from Sprucefield to Loughbrickland, but I would ask that it is extended on to Newry.”
Sinn Fein councillor Mickey Ruane added: “It is not that long ago that we actually had family members who have lost loved ones in this chamber about this particular issue.
“To think a couple of years later that we are still looking for them (DfI) to prioritise the road and the work that needs done.
“I think that anyone who travels that road, no matter up or down, there is not a time that you don’t see a potential accident in front of you.
“Unfortunately, too many people have lost their lives on this road and every day that the work isn’t done, there is potential for someone else to lose their life on it.”