Two options for the development of the Newry Southern Relief Road Scheme have been published for further consultation.
The options have been identified following completion of the Stage 1: Preliminary Options report.
This considered five options for the proposed scheme and has identified two road corridors to take forward for further development.
The scheme aims to provide a strategic transport link from the A1 Belfast-Dublin key transport corridor to the A2 Warrenpoint dual carriageway.
Both road corridors link the A2 Warrenpoint Road to the Ellisholding Junction on the A1. One corridor starts on the A2 Warrenpoint Road along the frontage of Greenbank Industrial Estate and crosses the Newry River and Canal just to the south Drumalane Quarry and then heads in a westerly direction towards the N1.
In the second option the corridor extends further south as far as Rough Island and follows along Fathom Line before heading in a northerly direction up Fathom Mountain to the N1.
A public information event is programmed for late autumn 2017 to provide an update on progress and to invite feedback to inform Stage 2 of the development work.
This will assess routes within each corridor and identify a preferred route.
It is expected that, subject to the project being allocated the necessary funds, the Stage 2 assessment could be complete in summer 2018.
Announcing the publication of the report, Southern Divisional Roads Manager, Simon Richardson said: “The publication of this report is another key step in the delivery of the Newry Southern Relief Road. This will be an important 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.
“The route will improve journey times and journey time reliability for strategic traffic between the A2 Warrenpoint Road and the A1/N1.
“It will also significantly improve road safety and traffic congestion within Newry City centre by providing an alternative route for port traffic.
“The scheme will improve accessibility to both Newry City and Warrenpoint Harbour and support and maintain sustainable economic growth and employment within the area.”