03/10/2001

Newry-Dundalk dual carriageway hailed as important gateway

The proposed £20 million scheme for dualling the Northern section of the Newry-Dundalk Road has been hailed as an important infrastructure development by acting first and deputy first minister Sir Reg Empey and Séamus Mallon.

The Newry-Dundalk Roads Project, which is a joint venture between DRD Roads Service, Department of Environment and Local Government (ROI), National Road Authority and Louth County Council (LCC), aims to provide a dual carriageway from Cloghogue roundabout (south of Newry) to Ballymascanlon roundabout (north of Dundalk).

The road works are currently estimated at £60m with costs apportioned one third DRD and two-thirds LCC reflecting the extent of the works in each jurisdiction.

Given a successful outcome to public inquiries, to be held in 2002, it is anticipated that work could commence on site in 2003.

Mr Mallon said: “Last week the Executive announced the allocation of £40m for the key strategic Trans European Network (TENS) route, which stretches from Larne to the border south of Newry.

“The importance of upgrading this key economic corridor lies in its significance to the future development of the North of Ireland. It will make a substantial contribution to cross border trade and mobility and to the gateways that enable onward travel to other European regions.

Sir Reg Empey said: “Our focus is on ensuring that our roads infrastructure is developed to a standard that meets the needs of our economy. We recognise the serious shortcomings that currently exist and the effect that increasing traffic congestion may have on our competitiveness as a region.

“Developing this section of road is a high priority due to existing and projected traffic volumes, its strategic importance for our ports, and its role within the Regional Development Strategy.” (AMcE)

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