Motorists can expect delays on the Northway for the next three months after work began this week on a £1.1 million road widening scheme.
A number of people have expressed dismay at the timing, with the return of school traffic just weeks away.
However, Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said the scheme will “help improve the movement of the 27,000 vehicles a day that use the route which is a critical link to and from the M1 Motorway”.
He added, “Road improvements such as this will inevitably lead to some disruption and I would ask the public for their co-operation and patience during the construction works.”
The scheme, which will involve the widening of 1.9km of carriageway to two lanes in each direction from the Seagoe to Kernan Loop junctions, has been awarded to Gibson (Banbridge).
It is scheduled to be completed by November 23 but this may be extended in the event of extremely bad weather.
Said a DRD spokesman, “In order to achieve this and carry out the work safely, it will be necessary to prevent vehicles from turning right both into and out of the Seagoe Road. This work will also require a lane closure, restricting traffic to a single lane in each direction with a temporary speed limit of 30mph along this section of the Northway for the duration of the works.
“The contract will also focus on completing works at the Kernan Loop junction as early as practical in order to reduce delays. The scheme will improve road safety and traffic progression along this section of the Northway by upgrading this section from a three-lane carriageway to a four-lane carriageway including junction improvements.
“This important work will accommodate existing and the expected future traffic growth in the area.”
Writing on Facebook, Ruth Robinson said, “Kids are off school for eight weeks but yet they start road works on the Northway for 11 weeks, nearly two weeks before they are due to go back.... that brings us right up to Christmas and darker mornings.”