Newry City Councillor Charlie Casey has challenged the Department of Regional Development and Minister Danny Kennedy to establish a timeline for the development and completion of the Newry Southern Relief Road Project. 

Charlie Casey
Charlie Casey

The elected representative issued his challange at a recent Council Meeting held with Minister Kennedy, DRD Officials, Council Officials and other interested stakeholders including the Chamber of Commerce.

Cllr Casey explained  "In October 2006, Roads Service engaged consultancy support to assist its southern division to undertake a transportation study to assess a range of road improvement options to provide relief to traffic in the Dublin Road,Bridge Street, William Street, Abbey Way and Warrenpoint Road area of the city of Newry.The feasibility study report published in 2009 concluded that, on the basis of the information available and presented in the report, the provision of a new road link between the A2 Warrenpoint and the A1 Belfast-Dublin key transport corridor was feasible and would be expected to provide significant economic benefits.The need for the road becomes increasingly urgent.  In 2012, DOE confirmed that air quality at Trevor Hill and Canal Street was the worst in the North.  At that time, DRD, under the present Minister, said that the southern relief road project's development was dictated by numerous factors, not just air quality.  Air quality is one of a number of environmental factors considered at each stage in the development and assessment of a major road improvement scheme.  DRD said that, in particular, the benefits identified in the scheme include an alternative route for heavy goods vehicles travelling to and from Warrenpoint port and a regional gateway to the A1 Belfast/Dublin dual carriageway, avoiding the congested urban network in the city of Newry.  A southern relief road would be expected to provide a measure of relief to the Dublin Road, Bridge Street, Abbey Way and the Warrenpoint Road area of Newry" and he continued "Whilst the Minister today again reaffirmed his support for the project and cited Engineering difficulties, Archaeological concerns and Financial restraints as hampering its progress, I expressed to him the view of many that the Department seemed to be only tinkering around the project and that a firm timeline for the development and completion of it should be established".

Charlie concluded by stating that any option that would impact on the Canal would not be acceptable.

"The Minister was told very clearly that any option in relation to the development of the Southern Relief Road which would result in a  detrimental impact on Newry Canal would not be accepted"

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