||Could open : 2025||Status : Unlikely|
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.
|Origin||North of Dundalk|
|Terminates||South of Newry|
|Places Served||Newry, Dundalk|
|Routes Spawned||A1 (Northern Ireland)|
"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."
"Upgrade it as far as J20 just before the border, let the NIO take it from there."
"The problem is that part of J20 is in the UK, as is part of the dual carriageway itself for about 65 yds.[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.]
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."
"This is good."
"The A1 in N.I should be upgraded to a motorway."
"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."