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Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart have welcomed the approval of plans to provide further safety improvements along the A1 dual carriageway between Hillsborough and Loughbrickland. Approval for Phase 2 of the A1 Junctions scheme was announced by the Infrastructure Minister today.

The DUP MPs said, "These improvements along the A1 stretch across our constituencies and are something we have been engaging with the Infrastructure Minister on for some time. Whilst getting to this point has taken longer than anyone would have wished for, this announcement is nonetheless a significant step forward.

The closure of gaps in the central reservation and provision of new grade separated junctions will make a major improvement to safety along the route. In November last year the Department published analysis of the top 5 causation factors leading to collisions on the A1 and at the top of that list were vehicles emerging from minor roads onto the main carriageway.

Locally, the provision of new junctions for a number of roads is of great benefit. We will continue to engage with the Department to ensure the access needs of local residents and farmers are accommodated.

However, the overall scheme can ensure that the A1 is finally being brought up to a standard which reflects the importance of this road not just locally, but as one of Northern Ireland's key transport corridors. The priority now will be to ensure the necessary finance is allocated as soon as possible and for work to commence quickly."