A2 safety review must now be prioritised - Hazzard

Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard MP has said a full safety review of the A2 coastal route from Newcastle to Warrenpoint must now be a priority for the Department for Infrastructure (DFI) following the closure of the road in two separate locations last week.
Mourne Cllr Michael Rice and South Down MP Chris Hazzard, pictured at the recent closure in Kilkeel, are requesting a full safety review of the A2 from Newcastle to Warrenpoint.Mourne Cllr Michael Rice and South Down MP Chris Hazzard, pictured at the recent closure in Kilkeel, are requesting a full safety review of the A2 from Newcastle to Warrenpoint.
Mourne Cllr Michael Rice and South Down MP Chris Hazzard, pictured at the recent closure in Kilkeel, are requesting a full safety review of the A2 from Newcastle to Warrenpoint.

The South Down MP has now written to the DFI Permanent Secretary, requesting that DFI Roads urgently undertake investigations in order to plan for the future.

Mr Hazzard said: “With Storm Babet causing devastation recently from Newry to Downpatrick, attention was largely focused on those homes and businesses that were flooded; however there were also a number of landslides and road slips in South Down - perhaps most worryingly on the A2 coastal route at Kilkeel and Killowen.

“Due to the tireless and commendable work of DFI Roads workers on the ground, road closures at these locations are now both open, however it is vitally important that DFI initiate a full safety review of the route in order to identify priority maintenance issues for the future.

“Government agencies, including DFI Roads, have been well aware of the potential for landslides and subsidence issues along the A2 from Rostrevor to Killowen; as well as a number of locations from Kilkeel to Newcastle that require attention. We must now see action to ensure appropriate mitigation measures are established as soon as possible.

Mourne Cllr Michael Rice added: "The A2 coastal route is a strategically important route for the wider Mourne area; with many of our local businesses and community reliant on access along the A2 to Newry on a daily basis.

“Extended closures like we experienced last week are a significant inconvenience, and pushed a considerable volume of traffic on to small, rural mountain roads that will now require maintenance to rectify any damage done.

“The A2 must be prioritised; and we need to see a full safety review that helps to keep it open, and safe in the future.”