Ballynahinch road plan to bypass the Co Down town moves a step closer

A long-awaited bypass of Ballynahinch today moves a step closer.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 12:01 am
Updated Monday, 19th April 2021, 9:26 am

The Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon this morning is confirming her intention to make the Direction Order for the Co Down road scheme.

Ms Mallon said: “I want to reaffirm my commitment to the delivery of the Ballynahinch scheme and I am delighted to announce this key step in the development of the Ballynahinch Bypass scheme.

“This important project, will deliver a bypass that will significantly reduce motor traffic in the centre of Ballynahinch and improve journey time reliability and safety on the A24 Belfast to Newcastle Road.”

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Nichola Mallon MLA said: "This bypass will reduce traffic in the centre of Ballynahinch and improve journey time reliability and safety on the A24 Belfast to Newcastle Road." Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

The SDLP MLA added: “In parallel with this work, my department is exploring further opportunities to improve the town centre to create a sustainable, liveable place where people have the space to stay, meet, shop and safely walk, wheel and cycle.

“This will include opportunities for active and sustainable travel in the town including a new footway/cycleway and a park and share facility on the bypass.

“We have a real opportunity to seize this chance for change and build back better together for our local communities.”

Ms Mallon said: “As minister I’m committed to making progress in Ballynahinch and right across the North.

“This is a positive step forward for the local community who have waited many years for progress on the Ballynahinch Bypass and moving forward with it is part of my plan to aid economic recovery and community transformation, while addressing regional imbalance.”

The 3.1km scheme will provide a new single carriageway bypass, with so-called 2+1 sections to provide overtaking opportunities, a new footway/cycleway along its length and a park and share facility at its northern end.

The new road is expected to cost in the region of £35 - £45 million.

After publication of the Environmental Statement and draft orders for consultation in March 2015, a public inquiry was held in January 2016. Subsequently and following a review of the Public Inquiry Inspector’s report the ‘Notice of Intention to Proceed’ for the scheme was announced in December 2016.

However, as Stormont collapsed in early 2017, the department was unable to proceed to make the necessary Direction Order for the scheme at that time.

The Direction Order designates the length of new and upgraded road that will become trunk road.

A Department for Infrastructure press release said: “The minister, having carefully considered the outcome of the previous public inquiry has confirmed that the Direction Order for the scheme should now be made in readiness for funding becoming available.”

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