However, while welcoming the upgrade along a section of Old Ballynahinch Road, Edwin Poots MLA and Councillor Uel Mackin claim that the route “remains dangerous” and argue that more work is needed in order to improve safety for all road users.
“The road has been the scene of many collisions and, in spite of being a main road, HGVs could not pass safely,” Mr Poots commented.
“There was an incident which led to a bus ending up on its side in a field with many passengers injured as a result.
“Further work on this road needs to take place as it remains dangerous and there have been far too many collisions including death and serious injury.”
Councillor Mackin, who knows the Old Ballynahinch Road particularly well as his late parents lived there, added: “The number of collisions on it has been horrendous.
“While the work carried out is an excellent improvement it should have continued for another 200 metres to complete it.
“We will continue to lobby for this to happen.”
Responding to the comments made by Mr Poots and Cllr Mackin, a spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure said the recent work had involved “significant safety improvements” along the busy route.
“TransportNI has recently completed work on a section of the A49 Old Ballynahinch Road, which included the removal of a retaining wall and relocation of utility service apparatus.
“This scheme has delivered a significant safety improvement and the department is grateful for the cooperation of road users and affected landowners while this work was carried out,” she said.
Stressing that further works are a possibility, the spokesperson added: “TransportNI is currently completing a route improvement study for the A49 between Ballynahinch and Lisburn. This will highlight locations where there is a history of collisions and identify potential improvement schemes to further improve road safety along this busy route.
“Any schemes identified through the route study will then have to compete against the other potential improvement schemes on our programme for the limited funding which is available.”