Alliance Councillor for Banbridge, Brian Pope, has expressed concern about another delay to the A1 Improvement Scheme, following the Department for Infrastructure's decision to hold a Public Inquiry.
The Department have concluded that holding a Public Inquiry is the most efficient way to progress the scheme as they have been unable to resolve objections from landowners, stakeholders or members of the public who have lodged objections.
Councillor Pope said: “The Department’s decision to hold a Public Inquiry is not unexpected, but unfortunately will do nothing to allay people’s fears on the safety of this road.
“We have previously met with the Department and expressed our concern on the recorded history of fatal and serious collisions on the A1. It is therefore disappointing that the Department have been unable to resolve a sufficient number of objections raised by landowners, stakeholders or members of the public.
“The Inquiry is expected to be held in March 2020 which will result in a further delay to the commencement of works.
“The Stage 3 Scheme Assessment Report, just published on the DFI website, concludes that this project will contribute positively to road safety. Therefore, we continue to urge the Department to expedite these processes as quickly as possible to bring these essential upgrade works to site.”
The A1 Improvement Works comprise the closure of the gaps in the central reservation, providing a continuous safety barrier along the length of the works, and the construction of new grade separated junctions.