Archaeological probe begins at Ballynahinch bypass route

Archaeological probe begins at Ballynahinch bypass route

7 March 2018

WORK has started on an archaeological investigation along the route of Ballynahinch’s proposed multi-million pound bypass.

Contractors arrived on site recently as part of continuing progress to deliver the near two-mile scheme which will link the Belfast and Newcastle roads.

As part of the multi-million pound project, major new roundabouts are proposed at the Belfast Road junction with the Saintfield Road and at the Newcastle Road junction with the Downpatrick Road in Ballynahinch.

A new bridge will also be constructed over Moss Road, with the bypass passing under part of the Crossgar Road with a 90-metre long bridge constructed to take traffic over Ballynahinch River.

While progression to the construction stage remains subject to clearing statutory procedures and securing finance, roads engineers are doing all they can to progress the scheme with work on the archaeological investigation part of the process.

South Down MP Chris Hazzard has welcomed progress on the bypass and the arrival of experts to carry out the archaeological investigation.

The former Stormont roads minister signed-off the proposal to start work on the bypass in December 2016 and has been keeping up-to-date with the scheme’s progress.

“Local commuters have been excited to see plant machinery arrive on site in recent days and although it unfortunately does not signal the start of construction work on the bypass, it is the beginning of vital archaeological works along the proposed route,” the MP explained.

“In tandem with these works, Department for Infrastructure officials have also commenced with the procurement stage of the scheme and continue to work with landowners towards the vesting process in the near future.”

Mr Hazzard said that given the strategic benefit of the major infrastructure project, the continued pro-active work of officials responsible for the project was to be welcomed.

The MP added: “I look forward to continuing to work towards the construction of the Ballynahinch bypass as soon as possible.” 

A major ground condition survey along the route of the bypass was completed last year, with roads officials keen to prepare contract documentation as soon as they can to pave the way for a formal funding bid.

The Department for Infrastructure says that given the scale of the multi-million pound scheme, it is required to carry out archaeological and geotechnical investigations along the route of the bypass.

Department officials say the various surveys and other work is being completed in advance to ensure key pieces of the jigsaw are in place when the bid for funding is made.