Hazzard Kick-Starts Long-Awaited Downpatrick Transport Improvements

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Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has advanced proposals to improve traffic flow in Downpatrick following a recent Transportation Study into the town’s growing road congestion problems.

During his recent visit to his Department’s regional offices at Rathkeltair House, the Minister also took the opportunity to initiate a feasibility study for an Eastern Bypass of the town.

Traffic negotiates Fountain Street in Downpatrick.
Traffic negotiates Fountain Street in Downpatrick.

Minister Hazzard said: “Next month I am opening a consultation on traffic calming proposals in connection with the widening of Fountain Street. This £200,000 scheme represents a significant investment in the roads infrastructure in Downpatrick and will undoubtedly improve road safety and traffic flow in the area.

“Design work for an upgraded junction at Collins’ Corner is also progressing well and the planned £350,000 scheme will see this very busy junction operating much more effectively and efficiently. I expect delivery of both these schemes within the next two years.

Chris Hazard  MLA, the Minister of Infrastructure.
Chris Hazard MLA, the Minister of Infrastructure.

“The Transportation Review also identified further improvements for Downpatrick, including one-way schemes. These will require further development and consultation with the local community and will be progressed over the medium to longer term.

Minister Hazzard confirmed that proposals are also now being taken forward for the delivery of a Park & Ride facility on the north side of the town.

The Minister said: “The popularity of Park & Ride has grown significantly in recent years as more people enjoy the convenience of using public transport. A Park & Ride facility on the Belfast Road would be a great addition to our local transport network and would also assist in reducing congestion in the town centre. My Department is at the early planning stages of this project which will require acquisition of land, funding and planning approval.

Collins' Corner in Downpatrick.
Collins’ Corner in Downpatrick.

In addition to proposals stemming from the Downpatrick Transportation Study the Minister discussed the concept of an Eastern Distributor Road on the outskirts of the town. He said: “Many local residents and businesses have long called for an Eastern Bypass or Distributor Road to be given serious consideration as a means to alleviating congestion throughout Downpatrick and also as a vital piece of infrastructure to allow the local economy to flourish.

“I have taken the decision to initiate a feasibility study of the scheme which will assist my department in discussions with key stakeholders on the possibility of providing this road in the future.”