Belfast Telegraph

A1 in Co Down to get safety barriers, mum of crash victim Kang Li told

By Joanne Sweeney

The mother of a Chinese student who died in a horrific crash on a dual carriageway has been assured that steps are being taken to provide central crash barriers in the future.

The barriers - which may have prevented the car that the young woman was travelling in from careering into the path of oncoming traffic - could cost between £30m and £45m, an inquest has heard.

Senior coroner John Leckey told 22-year-old Kang Li's mother that Transport NI had plans to provide safety crash barriers in the central reservation on the A1 from Hillsborough to Newry.

However, the inquest heard that even if the funding was approved and designs finalised now, it could take up to four years before construction could begin.

Newry man Ned McKeown, who was the driver of the other car involved, said after the inquest: "This was a terrifying accident. I just wonder how many deaths it's going to take on this road before something is done to make it safer."

Kang Li was a promising mechanical engineering graduate. She was a rear passenger in a car travelling from Belfast to Dublin with her mother and friends on October 6, 2012 when the driver lost control after clipping the kerb.

The Volvo crashed through the central reservation and collided with Mr McKeown's car in the opposite dual carriageway.

The inquest heard that Ms Li suffered the brunt of the impact near the Castlewellan Road junction at Banbridge, which could not have been avoided.

Ms Li had been a Masters student at Brunel University, London, and was travelling en route from Belfast to spend the weekend in Dublin.

Her mother Jun Wang spoke movingly of her daughter "as the sun" that had gone out of her family's life.

"My daughter was lovely, beautiful, everybody loved her," said Ms Wang, who as a Chinese citizen had only one child.

Mr Leckey had called for a report into the lack of provision of central crash barriers on the dual carriageway to answer Ms Wang's concerns. He accepted that the provision of central crash barriers along what has proved to be a dangerous road was not straightforward in terms of costs and conflicting interests of road users and local landowners.

He said he hoped Ms Wang was reassured that "there were plans to take steps so that a similar tragedy didn't affect another family".

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