A3 road (Northern Ireland)
| A1 in Lisburn
M1 Junction 9
A26 in Lurgan
A4 in Portadown
A51 in Armagh
A28 in Armagh
A29 in Armagh
|West end||Outside Middletown with the Republic becomes the N12 till Monaghan. From Monaghan then N12 becomes the N54 until Clones becoming the A3 till the border being N54 till back in N.I linking the B533, then crossing the Border as the N54 (Republic) till Cavan.|
The route branches off the A1, and from the start of the route at Lisburn to the border near Middletown, County Armagh, it is a primary route. The A3 is also the designated road number for the sections of the Irish N54 secondary route which lie in Northern Ireland. These sections carry secondary route status.
The A3 begins by proceeding ahead at a crossroads in Lisburn city centre, where the A1 veers to the left. It continues through the eastern suburbs of Lisburn before it comes to Junction 9 of the M1, where it intersects with the A26 travelling southwards from Antrim. The A3 carries the course of the A26 through the villages of Moira and Magheralin, before the A26 branches off again upon entering Lurgan.
The A3 continues through the town centre of Lurgan, and becomes dual carriageway from the outskirts of Lurgan through a series of roundabouts in what was planned as the new city of Craigavon. At "Central Roundabout", the A3 veers north-easterly onto "Northway", a single-carriageway by-pass of Portadown. "Northway" was originally planned to be an extension of the M12 into the centre of Craigavon, but like many parts of the planned town, it was not built. Close to Portadown town centre, the A4 road branches off and the A3 continues to the city of Armagh, bypassing the village of Richhill.
On entering Armagh, the road meets a series of other main roads leading to the city along a half-ring road; firstly the A51 from Gilford, then the A28 from Newry and the A29 from Dundalk. It then continues its route through the villages of Milford and Middletown before reaching the border with the Republic of Ireland in the townland of Ardgonnell. The road continues as the N12 to Monaghan.
However, the A3 still continues along a linear route along the N54 road between Monaghan and Cavan. On the outskirts of Clones, the road crosses the border into Northern Ireland, where the A3 route number is resumed for two miles. The route returns to N54 as the frontier between the North and South is crossed again, and the A3 returns for another short stretch where it meets the B533 from Newtownbutler at a Y-junction at Wattlebridge before reverting again to the N54 until it meets the N3 just outside Cavan. Unlike the primary route from Lisburn to the border near Monaghan, these brief sections of the A3 have secondary status.
At present, the Department for Regional Development plan a series of future road schemes for the A3:
- A link road through the northern and western areas of Armagh city; currently in preparation and construction timetabled to be completed by 2011, with a further link in the southwestern part of the city, construction timetable for after 2015
- The dualling of a 3 mile (5.5 km) stretch of the A3 between Portadown and Richhill; construction timetabled for between 2011 and 2016
- Improvements to the junctions on the Northway at Portadown; construction timetabled for after 2015