Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Grieving family launch petition to upgrade notorious A1 carriageway

The girlfriend of a man who was killed in a crash on the A1 earlier this year has launched a petition calling on the Department for Infrastructure to complete road improvements which were first planned for the notoriously dangerous dual carriageway more than a decade ago.

Ciara Sands world was turned upside down on May 23rd this year when her boyfriend, Karl Heaney, died in a road traffic collision on the A1 between Banbridge and Dromore.

In the wake of his passing Ciara and Karl’s heartbroken family learned that plans to upgrade the route, which stretches from Newry to Sprucefield, were being put together back in 2007.  The proposed 8 stage development of the road was published in 2011 but seven years later the plans have not progressed. 

Now, the grieving family have stepped up their campaign to secure the improvements to prevent any further tragedies along the notorious road, with the launch of a petition.  They have also created a Facebook page aptly entitled, “A1: How many more must die?”, where people are being encouraged to share their stories of the road and its dangers.

The petition describes Karl as “a beloved son, brother, boyfriend and uncle.” 

“But more than that he was innocent,” it continues.

“Actions of certain individuals led to Karl’s death that night but upon researching the road we discovered plans to upgrade the A1 have been developed but not implemented. 

“These plans first began to form in 2007. The proposed development was published in 2011 with 8 stages with the 7th stage being the beginning of construction. We are coming to the end of 2018 now and these plans are still only at stage 3. This is not good enough.”

“This road is one of the most dangerous roads in Northern Ireland. It is the main road between Newry and Belfast and is the link road between Belfast and Dublin. Therefore we believe it should be top priority.”

The petition ends with an appeal to “show the Department of Infrastructure and Stormont that we want answers and results now not in another 10 years time! The time to act is now. How many must die for them to listen to us?!”

More than 6,000 people have signed the petition since its launch last week. You can sign the petition at