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Roads

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the expected completion date is for the upgrading of the Belfast to Dublin Road; what sections are programmed to be upgraded; when the upgrading is scheduled; what sections have no dates for planned upgrading; and if he will make a statement. (95742)

The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to my hon. Friend in response to this question.

Letter from Malcolm McKibbin, dated 23 October 2006:

You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding what the expected completion date is for the upgrading of the Belfast to Dublin Road; what sections are programmed to be upgraded; when the upgrading is scheduled and what sections have no dates for planned upgrading.

As this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.

The Belfast-Dublin link forms part of one of the 5 Key Transport Corridors at the upper tier of the region’s long distance routes. The Department for Regional Development’s Roads Service is committed to upgrade the northern part of this link, comprising the M1/A1 to at least dual carriageway standard by 2009.

The following table provides details of improvement schemes affecting this route that are included in Roads Service’s current Strategic Route Improvement Programme. These include:

schemes already under construction; and

high priority schemes in a preparation pool that are being processed through the statutory procedures that are expected to be implemented within the next 5 years or so subject to clearing the statutory procedures, having a satisfactory economic appraisal and the availability of funds at the time.

Scheme

Description

Status

Timetable

M1/Westlink Upgrade

Widen 2.6 km of motorway and 1.4 km of dual carriageway to 3+3 lanes including 2 underpass junctions.

Under construction

Work has commenced. Anticipated completion spring 2009

A1 Loughbrickland to Beech Hill

Upgrade 9.0 km of single carriageway to standard dual carriageway

Under construction

Work has commenced. Anticipate completion November 2006

A1 Newry to Dundalk Link Road (NI Section)

4.3 km of high standard dual carriageway with no central reserve crossings and 1 grade separated junction. (+10 km in ROI)

Under construction

Work has commenced. Anticipate completion end 2007

A1 Junction Improvement

Provide a flyover at A1/Cascum Road, Banbridge

Under construction

Ongoing private developer led works agreed for new shopping centre

A1 Beech Hill to Cloghogue

12.1 km of high standard dual carriageway with no central reserve crossings and 5 grade separated junctions

Included in Preparation Pool

Anticipated to commence in 2007 with completion in 2009

A1 Junction Improvements

Provide flyovers at 4 key junctions on Al

Included in Preparation Pool

Anticipated to commence in 2007 with completion in 2009

In August 2006, Minister Cairns unveiled a proposed additional 400 million package of major improvements to the trunk road network during the period up to 2015. The proposed package was issued for public consultation that concluded on 29 September 2006. Roads Service is currently considering responses with a view to finalising the extended programme.

The following table provides details of improvement schemes affecting this route that were included in the Consultation Document and that had performed well against the five key criteria of environment safety, economy, accessibility and integration and were included in the proposed package. (No decision has yet been made as to whether these schemes will be included in Roads Service’s Forward Planning Schedule, so no commencement date can be given for any of these schemes.)

Scheme

Description

M1 Slip Roads at Black’s Road

2 west facing on/off slips at the Ml/Black’s Road junction

M1/A1 Sprucefield Bypass

4Km of high standard dual carriageway from Ml to Al at Hillsborough including flyover

A1 Junction Improvements

Provide flyovers at 4 additional key junctions to upgrade Al between Sprucefield and Loughbrickland

The consultation document also included for information, a list of schemes that had performed less well against the key criteria but were not affordable within the funding envisaged to 2015. The following table provides details of one improvement scheme affecting this route that is included in this list. (No decision has yet been made as to whether these schemes will be included in Roads Service’s Forward Planning Schedule, so no commencement date can be given for this scheme.)

Scheme

Description

Ml widening Black's Road to Sprucefield

Provision of additional lane in both directions

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what studies he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the impact of improving motorway links between the Northern Ireland border and ports in the Irish Republic on (i) the ports industry and (ii) airports in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. (95745)

Improved motorway links make an important contribution to travel and transport, but I have not commissioned specific studies into their impact on ports or airports in Northern Ireland.