A Newry Blog

While measures to help increase safety on the A1 Dual Carriageway between Newry and Sprucefield are on-going it’s safe to say that the overall structure of the road in many places is literally an accident waiting to happen.

A1 Road Sign
A1 Road Sign

In the short term finding a way to remove all non essential central reservation crossing points would contribute greatly to safety on the A1. Ideally though a motorway infrastructure is needed.

Of course non-essential crossings are open to interpretation. An example would be the right turn off for Loughbrickland coming from Belfast! Is this essential saying there is an underpass several hundred metres up the road where you don’t have to try and cross the fastest part of the road?

I did a count of the number of access points between Sprucefield and Sheepbridge. You can access from one side to the other via the central reservation well over 100 times. Granted a lot of these are tracks opposite a gate into a field or yard and not used all the time, but then again you really don’t want to meet a tractor and trailer in the fast lane as it tries to cross!

Coming from Dublin you are travelling at Motorway speeds all the way to just past Sheepbridge before you see a central reservation crossing!

The Roads Service have a plan for the Eastern Seaboard Corridor A1 Junctions Phase Two that would see the central reservation closed as far as Loughbrickland but doesn’t include the stretch from Loughbrickland to Sheepbridge! At present it is subject to funding and could be many years before it happens if it ever does.

We really do need to get campaigning, keep tackling your local MP, MLA, Councillor and ask them to push for improvement on your behalf.

Statistically it doesn’t represent the greatest risk with 4 fatalities out of the 70 in the Province so far this year on Motorway/ Dual Carriageway but with increasing traffic it will become an more pressing issue as time goes on if something isn’t done.

While the A1 isn’t the greatest danger area, 2014 road traffic collision statistics are grim reading for us folk in E District (Newry and Mourne, Banbridge, Armagh and Craigavon) 18 fatalities already this year in E District with a massive 11 of these in Newry and Mourne alone!

The message is - When you are on the roads, Drive Safely, expect the unexpected and show care and courtesy for other road users. 

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