M1 Dundalk-Newry

Could open : 2025 Status : Unlikely
M1 Motorway Logo


Redesignation to Motorway : 8.4 km (with more in N.I.)

The N1 Dundalk-Newry scheme opened in 2007. It was built to full motorway spec and bridged a crucial cross-border winding gap. It was not designated motorway, ostensibly because agreement was not forthcoming from the Northern Ireland authorities and it was not possible to redesignate our section if they were not going to match it. In addition, it is arguable that the original route was so low quality that all traffic, not just that permitted on a motorway, should use the new road.

The arguments in favour of redesignation are that a parallel access road exists, though some parts are very low standard, and that it is right for the main road between the island's two largest cities to be a full motorway. The Newry Bypass rebuild, completed in 2010, is motorway spec also, and there is a need for an offline new motorway between north Newry and the A1/M1 junction at Sprucefield.

Since agreement to all this would be needed from N.I., and some changes would need to be made on their end, the likelihood of this change occurring soon is therefore slim.

The upgrades to the parallel route to bring it up to an appropriate standard are marked in yellow on the map below (try switching to the satellite view to see them better.)

Update Feb 2017: In the light of Brexit, there is now a possibility that a customs check may be imposed on this border crossing. Even if this doesn't happen, with this border becoming an EU external border it is doubtful whether motorway classification could be envisaged now, so I am assuming the proposal on this page is dead in the water now.

Wikipedia page on this road


Origin North of Dundalk
Terminates South of Newry
Places Served Newry, Dundalk
Routes Spawned A1 (Northern Ireland)
Intersects -


Please take a minute to answer a very short survey on your opinion of this road proposal.

Cathal from Ireland rates this scheme 9/10 and its alignment 10/10; and reckons the standard is about right. He has the following comments to make:
"It's essentially in the hands of the Northern Irish Government, it makes complete sense that Dublin and Belfast should be completely linked by motorway but it is out of our hands."

Someone from Ireland rates this scheme 5/10 and its alignment 10/10; and reckons the standard is about right. He or she has the following comment to make:
"Upgrade it as far as J20 just before the border, let the NIO take it from there."

'Indeed' from Belfast (the same person with the very detailed comment on the N2 page) rates this scheme 8/10 and its alignment 9/10, but reckons the standard should be higher - '3 lanes either way'. He or she has the following comment to make:
"The problem is that part of J20 is in the UK, as is part of the dual carriageway itself for about 65 yds.
The section from Sheepsbridge (Newry north) and the Carrickdale (J19) should be motorway ideally, but what would the Northern Ireland section be called? The M1, M2, M3 and M5 are already taken. The M4 perhaps? That would be my preference. It's heads and shoulders better than the IMO rather clumsy A1(M) alternative. I'd like to see the Banbridge Bypass, the Dromore Bypass, the Hillsborough Bypass and the planned Hillsborough to Sprucefield sections designated as M4 too."
[Note that it isn't clear if these bypass segments would be up to motorway spec, so they might not be appropriate for M4 status. Additionally, since the A1 forms in a larger sense the Belfast-Dublin route, it might be better to call the motorway-standard A1 sections 'M1' and renumber the existing Northern Ireland M1 as 'M4' from Sprucefield to Dungannon.]

Someone from Ireland is thrilled by this scheme. They rate it 10/10 and its alignment 10/10; and reckon the standard is about right. He or she confirms this by simply saying:
"This is good."

Anonymous from the UK (Northern Ireland?) loves this scheme, giving it top marks. They also make the observation that:
"The A1 in N.I should be upgraded to a motorway."

Someone from Ireland doesn't like this, rating it 1/10 on both counts. They think the spec should be lower: "Single carriageway."
This is confusing since the road is already dual carriageway!

Middle from Ireland has this to say, having rated this scheme 7/10 and the alignment 10:
"It shouldn't be too difficult to squeeze in a short section of alternative route that's required to fill the gap. Mainline only needs a solid yellow line and blue signage."