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Newry Southern Relief Road is Vital to Local Economy In a Post Brexit World

‘The Southern Relief Road around Newry is vital to the regions’ future economic success, especially in a post Brexit scenario’ according to a consortium of local stakeholders speaking ahead of a public consultation on the important infrastructure project. A group including Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade, Warrenpoint Harbour Authority, Seatruck, Re-Gen Waste and Cronus Logistics have argued that the project should be given priority in future budgetary considerations by the Westminster government in the absence of a Local Assembly and Executive.

The scheme aims to provide a strategic transport link road between the key strategic corridor of the A1/N1 Belfast to Dublin route with the A2 and Northern Ireland’s second largest port at Warrenpoint Harbour. It is anticipated that the route will significantly improve ‎journey times and journey time reliability for strategic traffic between the A2 Warrenpoint Road and the A1/N1, while also greatly improving road safety and traffic congestion within Newry City Centre. Previous economic business cases have demonstrated that improved accessibility to both Newry City and Warrenpoint Harbour will support and maintain sustainable economic growth and employment within the area.

A public consultation is taking place in Newry, on 14 and 15 November 2017 designed to help shape the design of the proposed Newry Southern Relief Road and to help decide a ‘Preferred Option’ for the project, based on three shortlisted routes for the proposed scheme.

Speaking at a pre-consultation briefing hosted in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council offices Peter Conway, Chief Executive, Warrenpoint Harbour Authority said, ‘There is an economic imperative that the Newry Southern Relief Road is taken forward, especially given the unique challenges presented by Brexit to our local economy. The Southern Relief Road will act as a strategically transport link between South Down and the Republic of Ireland and critically will ensure that Warrenpoint Harbour retains its position as the second busiest port in Northern Ireland, which in turn acts as a key economic driver for the whole region.’

‘In view of Brexit, this major infrastructure project on the increasingly important north south corridor must be prioritised in any future infrastructure expenditure planning and budgetary processes now being undertaken by Westminster in the absence of a local Assembly and Executive.’

Mary Meehan, Chief Executive, Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade added;

‘We welcome progress on this scheme to date and the recent securing of £1.2 million in European funding by the Department for Infrastructure through the ‘Connecting Europe Facility’ for the design stages of this important project. This funding support underscores the strategic importance of this project and will now allow the Stage 2 Assessment to be completed including consideration of the input from this important public consultation phase. The business case is clear that the Newry Southern Relief Road will support and maintain sustainable economic growth and employment within the area and at the same time ease traffic congestion and safety concerns in Newry itself. We hope that with the additional £400m funding now earmarked for Infrastructure investment here and the fact that the latest scoping exercise has demonstrated it can be delivered much more cost effectively than initially anticipated, the Southern Relief Road will be given the priority it deserves.’

The Phase 2 Public Consultation on proposals to help shape the design of the proposed Newry Southern Relief Road is taking place at the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre, Newry on 14 and 15 November 2017 between 10am and 9pm and all are welcome to attend.