By Ron Bygness
The A1/N1 Newry-to-Dundalk link road is a cross-border, design-and-build route that runs between the Cloghoge roundabout, south of Newry, Northern Ireland, and the Ballymascanlon interchange, north of Dundalk, Republic of Ireland.
The new road forms part of the main Dublin–Belfast corridor and is the largest cross-border roads project to date. This major construction project, through difficult topography, involves the design and construction of 14.5km (9mi) of all-purpose, two-lane dual carriageway, three grade-separated junctions, 13 principal structures (road, river, and rail bridges), soft and contaminated ground geotechnical solutions, and the realignment of approximately 6km of associated regional and county roads.
Given the form of contract (see Project Highlights), the early stages of the project involved RPS working with the client to develop “value engineering” design solutions to reduce construction costs. RPS has endeavored throughout the design process to keep ahead of the construction program and the detailed design is nearing completion.
Significant construction progress includes a haul route from the northern end of the project to the soft ground Flurry Bog area, north of Jonesborough, to enable the hauling of rock excavated from Cloghoge Mountain. There was also significant progress on drainage and the piled embankment area through the Flurry Bog. Key structures were completed with one overbridge already opened to traffic. Traffic management was also a major design and construction consideration because it was essential to keep traffic on the existing A1/N1 moving and live during construction.