A23 and B178 Hillsborough Road realignment, Moneyreagh

 

Status
Construction scheme (current)
Contractor
?
Where
To realign the B178 Hillsborough Road where it meets the A23 near Moneyreagh.
Known locally as "Ewarts".
Total Length
350 metres
Dates

14 Sep 2016 - planning permission granted (ref LA05/2015/0844/F)
September 2016 - work began

Cost
£unknown - being funded by a private developer
See Also

General area map - Google Maps


Click here to jump straight down to updates for this scheme.

The A23 connects Belfast to Ballygowan and on to Saintfield. Although generally a good, straight road is is punctuated by a series of very busy staggered cross-roads that have been a safety issue for many years, not to mention a delay to traffic. One such junction is the B178/A23 junction at Moneyreagh, known to many as the site of the former Ewarts stores. Attempts to replace it with a roundabout in the past have stalled due to high land costs. This scheme, being carried out by a private housing developer, will see the Hillsborough Road realigned to the north as part of a 71-unit development. The new stretch of road will be about 350 metres long and it wil meet the A23 about 100 metres further north than at present. This is shown on the design below, which is from the Planning Service web site.

The realigned road will, oddly, convert the junction into one that requires a right-left movement to go straight on, rather than a left-right movement, which is actually more difficult for road users. However, in its defence, it will split the two T-junctions much further apart, and add a right-turn filter lane on the new junction, which will reduce conflicts between the two junctions. It will also allow the possiility of a roundabout to be added at a future date, since the B178 to the east has no development at this point. It remains to be seen how it will work in practice since sometimes improving visibility and reducing conflicts can actually encourage higher vehicle speeds. This is one I can report on personally since I drive through it several times a week.

The picture below shows the situation before work began - this is looking north along the A23 Ballygowan Road (towards Belfast) with Hillsborough Road to the left. It will be diverted to emerge about 100 metres further ahead.


View north along the A23 Ballygowan Road (towards Belfast) with Hillsborough Road to the left showing how the junction looked before work began, circa 2015 [Wesley Johnston].

With many thanks to Alan Mannis for letting me know about this scheme.

Updates

22 Mar 2018: Work on the road seemed to stall during 2017, but in the past couple of months there has been a bit more progress once again. Work on widening the existing A23 at the point the new road joins it has taken place, as shown by the kerb lines in the photo below. In addition, a consultation is now underway into a piece of legislation that is required to stop up the existing Hillsborough Road junction which will be closed once the realigned road is opened. It's not clear what timescale the developer is working to, but the consultation suggests some progress towards completion of the realignment.


View south on the A23 showing the kerbs in place for the realigned Hillsborough Road on 16 March 2018 [Wesley Johnston].

28 Oct 2016: A small update to bring you three photos I took three days ago showing the works as they are now. The map at the top of this page may be of some use in orienting yourself in these pictures.


View west along the new road across the A23 Ballygowan Road on 25 Oct 2016. The stone base layer seems to be in place but kerbing is yet to go in. Some drainage works are probably also underway at either side. [Wesley Johnston]


Moving a few dozen metres north (to the right) from the previous photo this shows the curve in the realigned Hillsborough Road. Seen from the A23 Ballygowan Road on 25 Oct 2016. [Wesley Johnston]

View east along Hillsborough Road towards the western end of the new road. This is the point that the realigned road will swing left onto the new route. The old road will remain in place for local access. Presumably the telephone pole in the foreground will have to be relocated at some point soon. Seen on 25 Oct 2016. [Wesley Johnston]

23 Oct 2016: Visible work got underway on this scheme during September, almost immediately after planning permission was granted, and as of today most of the base course of gravel on the route of the diverted Hillsborough Road has been built. No work has yet taken place on the tie-in to the main A23. There was little or no advance publicity due to this being a private scheme.