A notorious stretch of road along the A1 could have a decision on safety upgrades in the early part of 2021.
The stretch of A1 between Hillsborough and Newry is in dire need of safety improvements following the deaths of 41 people over the years, in 661 accidents.
SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty says he hopes party colleague and Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, will give the go ahead for the much needed upgrade shortly after Christmas.
“The A1 is a notorious stretch of road. Every effort must be made to make the necessary safety upgrade to this road a reality and to do so as soon as possible,” said Mr McNulty.
“The design work has been finalised and the Public Inquiry has been completed. It is anticipated that Minister Mallon will be in the position early next year to make her deliberation known following the outcome of that Public Inquiry and I am hopeful we will have a scheme agreed.”
The proposed scheme will see 111 gaps in the central reservation closed, four new flyovers developed and the prevention of right turns from more than 20 side roads.
Mr McNulty added: “These proposals would ensure the A1 is a much safer road and will ultimately save lives.
“I hope Minister Mallon will be able to give the grieving families the hope that no other family will have to go through what they have.
“It will be then up to the Executive to put in place the finance to deliver this much needed safety scheme.
“The strength of the families who have lost loved ones to accidents on this stretch of road and who are now campaigning for the long overdue upgrades has been nothing short of phenomenal.
“The bravery of those families is remarkable. They are so determined to ensure no other families experience the pain of loss they’ve endured.”