Published Thursday, 29 July 2010
The A1 Beech Hill to Cloghogue dual carriageway cost £150m, bringing to an end almost 20 years of work to create a continuous dual carriageway between Belfast and Dublin.
The first high-speed road link between the two cities could reduce travel time to 90 minutes.
Read Jamie Delargy's blog: Taking the Dublin road
The new 12km route extends around the northern and western outskirts of Newry.
The road replaces the 1996 Bypass which was built as a single carriageway to cope with the increased volume of traffic.
Scores of people have died on the A1 over the years making it one of the most dangerous roads in Northern Ireland.
"This project will significantly improve journey times and safety for all," said Mr Murphy who officially opened the section with the deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Junior Minister Robin Newton. Taoiseach Brian Cowen also took part in the event.
"I am sure, like me, many of you have watched with interest and anticipation this new stretch of dual carriageway take shape and are now looking forward to actually travelling on it and experiencing the important benefits that it will provide," Mr Murphy added.
Five flyover junctions and 17 new bridges - including a 190m long viaduct over the Newry river - have been installed during the build.
Over two million man hours of work went into the construction of the carriageway, with 500 workers employed at the peak of the project.
Creating the bypass was a major engineering feat involving the excavation of 1.2 million tonnes of rock to make way for the new dual carriageway.
Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: "Transportation infrastructure is a key factor in sustainable economic growth.
"This stretch of road is an essential element of the development of dual carriageways and motorways along the Eastern Seaboard, connecting Larne through Belfast to Dublin and on to Rosslare.
"This will not only reduce transport times and costs, but create opportunities along the seaboard, linking the major ports and our economies."
SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Dominic Bradley said the bypass will be a fantastic boost for business in Newry.
"Newry will now be an even greater magnet for shoppers and visitors, both North and South, all contributing to the stimulation of our local economy by enhancing business profits and creating jobs in our diverse vibrant city", he said.
Environmental concerns have been at the forefront of the scheme, as the new stretch of road borders the Ring of Gullion Area of Natural Beauty outside Newry.
Work has been done to preserve views across the countryside landscape for motorists travelling through the area, the Department for Regional Development said.
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