Irish Street Link Downpatrick


Construction scheme (proposed)
To build a new road connecting Irish Street and St Patrick's Avenue, Downpatrick and the introduction of a one-way system around the town centre.
Total Length
200 metres / 230 yards

Included in Sub-Regional Transport Plan (SRTP) - June 2007
Planned for "the medium term" - as of 2013
Public Exhibition held - 28 Oct 2015

None as yet - see below for more information
See Also

General area map - Google Maps
2007 Sub-Regional Transport Plan (SRTP) - DRD

2007 SRTP document that includes scheme - DRD

Click here to jump straight down to updates for this scheme.

Anyone familiar with Downpatrick will be familiar with the congestion at the pinch point in the town centre where Irish Street, Church Street and Market Street meet in a tightly confined urban setting. For traffic travelling on the A25 through the town there is no alternative route that does not involve a convoluted detour through the eastern suburbs. Over the years DRD have tried various ways to alleviate the congestion. In the late 1990s they built Saul Way to take traffic bound for Saul Street away from the vicinity of this junction, but it has had limited success and killed off the life of Scotch Street in the process.

This scheme would see a new road running between Irish Street and St Patrick's Avenue, but parallel to Market Street. This would then allow a clockwise one-way system to be introduced on Market Street -> Irish Street -> the new road -> St Patrick's Avenue to hopefully make things run more smoothly. This is shown on the map below. The new road is marked in red, and the existing roads that would become one-way are marked in blue. The DRD refined this proposal and published this more detailed map in October 2015 showing not just the proposed link road, but changes to various roads in the town centre. Note that the route of the new road on this map is indicative only - this is not necessarily the exact route that the road would follow if it was actually built.

View Irish Street Link Downpatrick in a larger map

The eastern part of the proposed route is currently part of the PSNI police station compound and it would require cooperation with the PSNI to secure this part of the land. This can be seen more clearly in an aerial view. The land at the western end is less built-up and would require only limited demolition and some land acquisition to allow the road to be built. See "photos" links below.

Analysis of this option have suggested that such a scheme would not have much impact on traffic levels on Market Street, and would double traffic on Irish Street. However, it would speed up traffic movements for individual vehicles. In addition, the new road would be very formalised as a straight, urban road and could provide good opportunities for further frontal development in a town centre setting, which would enhance the town's streetscape and possibly trade.


This is where the road would begin on Irish Street. The road would would run to the right through where the corner of the police station is. The road on the right is Lynn Doyle Place, a residential street that would probably remain. Google Streetview

This is where it would emerge onto St Patrick's Avenue (not necessarily this exact spot). Google Streetview


28 Nov 2015: The DRD held their public exhibition a month ago - and they kindly sent me a copy of the proposals that were on display there. I have uploaded the overall map here with the DRD's permission (the proposed new road is marked "New Link Road" in this document). This permission was on condition that I stress that the line of the link road is indicative only and that "the delivery of any of the proposed measures will be subject to the satisfactory completion of consultation, legislation and availability of the necessary land and funds." The proposals are actually much greater in scope than purely the Irish Street Link Road, but since this web site focuses on plans for new roads I am focusing in on that element. However, the full set of proposals that were presented to the public on 28 October are:

  • Collins Corner – Junction Improvement and signal upgrade (planned to be carried out within the next year or so);
  • Fountain Street – Road widening and traffic calming (in advanced planning);
  • One way traffic system for Edward Street, St Dillon’s Avenue and john Street;
  • One way traffic system for Market Street, Irish Street and St Patricks Avenue;
  • Potential new link road between Irish Street and St Patrick’s Avenue, through the PSNI site; and
  • Park and Ride proposals – With two potential sites identified on the A7 Belfast Road.

Although the first two elements of this plan are being progressed and have a good chance of being built, there is as yet no formal commitment to build the Irish Street Link road and introduce the one-way system that this would facilitate. So the link road is still more of a "proposed" road than an actual "planned" road. In any case, the DRD noted that further work cannot begin until the PSNI leaves their site on Irish Street: "Further survey and design work will be required, once access to the PSNI site is granted, following decommissioning of the police station." They also presumably want to take into account the views of the public as ascertained during the consultation at the end of October - media reports have indicated that there is some opposition to elements of the plan. I think we can expect not to hear much more until the PSNI site is decommissioned and further planning has taken place.

22 Oct 2015: The DRD is holding a public exhibition in Downpatrick on Wednesday 28 October, which includes a number of proposals for the town centre including this link road. The exhibition will also show plans for a one-way system in the town centre, presumably using the new link road, as well as two junction improvements and proposed park-and-ride facilities. All of this seems to have been prompted by a detailed traffic survey in the town. The public information day will be held in Downpatrick Arts Centre, 2-6 Irish Street, Downpatrick on Wednesday 28 October from 9.30 am 4.00 pm. The press release also notes that the plans will also be available to view in the foyer of Rathkeltair House, Market Street, Downpatrick from 29 October to 12 November 2015. Once the exhibition has happened we should be in a better position to say what exactly is being proposed, but it doesn't appear to me as if construction is imminent especially given that it would mean demolishing part of the existing PSNI station (although the PSNI seem to be cooperating). As these would be significant changes for traffic in the town, all those with an interest in the development of the town should turn up at the event and express their views on what is proposed.

15 July 2013: Two weeks ago, the DRD Minister was asked about progress on this scheme via a Written Answer (AQW 24167/11-15). As it is not on the strategic road network it is not a high priority for Roads Service. Nevertheless, they do seem to be at least actively considering it. The Minister said " In the medium term, my Department is considering providing a new link road following the re-location of the PSNI station in Irish Street. In addition, a full or partial one-way system may be introduced along with this proposal."  This suggests that the problem of the PSNI station being "in the way" may get resolved by the PSNI moving. However the references to "medium term" and "following the re-location" are vague and have no definite timescale. So I would not expect to see much movement in the next few years.