A1 dualling - Loughbrickland to Beech Hill


Construction scheme (completed)
Upgrade of the existing A1 (Belfast to Dublin) road to dual carriageway between Loughbrickland village and Beech Hill.
Total Length
9.0km / 5.6 miles

Work commenced March 2004 with completion due March 2006.

Northern 3 miles opened 22 December 2005.

Southern 3 miles opened 21 November 2006 (8 months behind schedule).

£27.8 million (source) (revised from £21m)
See below.
See Also

Existing A1 dual carriageway (Sprucefield to Loughbrickland)

A1 dualling Beech Hill to Cloghogue on this site

A1 dualling Cloghogue to RoI border on this site

The A1 is the main route from Belfast to Dublin. South of the border, the road is almost entirely motorway standard from Dundalk to Dublin. The A1 in Northern Ireland was partially dual-carriageway and partially single-carriageway, and dualling the remainder of the A1 was a top priority for the Roads Service during the first decade of the 21st century. The remaining sections of Loughbrickland to Beech Hill, Beech Hill to Cloghogue (south Newry) and Cloghogue to the border (see links above) were dualled by 2010.

This section of the dual-carriageway from Loughbrickland to Beech Hill was constructed largely on-line, ie by widening the existing road, although there are exceptions. For example, the short section of existing but poor standard dual-carriageway at Glen View was obliterated and replaced with the new high-quality road. The new road was also equipped with full hard shoulders and central barrier, unlike the earlier sections closer to Lisburn. Construction caused considerable disruption to Belfast–Dublin traffic, which should not be the case with the remaining two sections of the A1 which are to be constructed mostly off-line on new routes.

As work began at the north end and worked south, the three miles from Loughbrickland to Rock Meeting Road were completed ahead of time and the traffic controls removed on 22 December 2005. The remainder of the scheme was pushed back until the summer of 2006 and then to the autumn – finally opening 8 months behind schedule. According to this consultation document, released in July 2006, the cost of this project had risen from £21m to £25m by the time it was completed.


On 3 January 2007, 6 weeks after completion, a road safety expert from the AA, Andrew Howard, slammed the design of this section. He said that the central-reservation crossings giving access to farms and permitting vehicles to enter the overtaking lane to turn right was "hazardous" and saying that its design belonged to the 1960s or 1970s. He said that these types of junction were where 60% of all accidents occurred. This was followed 3 days later by councillor Frank Feely who slammed the design. As reported in the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Feely said that Roads Service senior management "against all expert advice, including senior political representations, obviously believe that second class roads are good enough for the people of Banbridge, Newry and Mourne". He added: "At the first public enquiry, SDLP south Down councillor PJ Bradley made a detailed presentation on the need to get rid of junctions, pointing out how dangerous they were and the number of accidents that take place on them."


The view looking south near Beech Hill on 18 November 2006. The road is practically completed and the official opening took place 3 days later. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]

The view south along the A1 near Glen View in June 2006. Work is progressing well with the northbound lane complete and currently carrying all traffic while the southbound lane is completed. [Photo by Wesley johnston]

At a realigned section of the A1, also near Glen View, a cross-section of the old road can be seen in this bank, with the former reflective road edge markers still in situ above! [Photo by Wesley Johnston]

Beech Hill, seen here looking south, is the southern limit of this phase of the A1 dualling scheme. However, the next phase will see the A1 head into the hills ahead to complete its route to Newry on a new offline route. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]

Older photos:

The partially completed A1 at Loughbrickland seen in June 2005. The lorry is on the future northbound carriageway while the southbound carriageway is still being built on the left. This section opened in December 2005. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]

At the other end of the project, the northbound lane was only just being commenced in June 2005, while the existing road is still being used beside it. Much work still to be done. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]