Northern Ireland

Welcome for preferred proposed route for Newry southern relief road

Warrenpoint Harbour
Warrenpoint Harbour Warrenpoint Harbour

HAULIERS have welcomed the announcement of the preferred proposed route for the Newry southern relief road.

The Department for Infrastructure said five routes had been considered and the preferred choice would provide a "strategic transport link from the A1 Belfast-Dublin transport corridor to the A2 Warrenpoint dual carriageway".

The proposed route links the A2 Warrenpoint Road to the Ellisholding junction on the A1 and starts on the A2 Warrenpoint Road along the frontage of Greenbank Industrial Estate.

It crosses the Newry River and Canal just to the south of Drumalane Quarry and then heads in a westerly direction towards the A1.

The new road is expected to significantly improve ?journey times and and traffic congestion within Newry city centre.

Southern divisional roads manager Simon Richardson said: "This is another key step in the delivery of the Newry Southern Relief Road which if constructed will be an important link road between the key strategic corridor of the A1/N1 Belfast to Dublin route with the A2 and Northern Ireland’s second largest port at Warrenpoint Harbour.

"The route will improve ?journey times and journey time reliability for strategic traffic between the A2 Warrenpoint Road and the A1/N1.

"It will also significantly improve road safety and traffic congestion within Newry City centre by providing an alternative route for strategic traffic.

"The proposed scheme will improve accessibility to both Newry City and Warrenpoint Harbour and support and maintain sustainable economic growth and employment within the area."

Roads enthusiast Wesley Johnston said the route would be "hugely beneficial to both the city and traffic for Warrenpoint and south Down".

"Much of the traffic destined for south Down has to go through Newry - it doesn't want to be there, and Newry residents don't want it to be there either," he said.

He said the road could be "one of the most challenging ever conceived here", which would combine steep gradients and a former quarry among the issues to be considered.

"DfI think it can be done and this route is both the cheapest option considered and the one that offers the most benefits," he said.

"It's close enough to the city to double as a partial southern 'ring road' for the town."

Seamus Leheny from the Freight Transport Association said it was "welcome news for Newry and especially freight traffic using Warrenpoint Port" adding that it was the "preferred option FTA supported during consultation".

Warrenpoint Port said it was "delighted with this progress to date".

DfI said the next stage of the project will be to develop the design of the road and prepare the draft statutory orders along with an environmental impact assessment, for public consultation, and if necessary, public inquiry.