A5 upgrade 'green light' confirmed

Published Tuesday, 31 July 2012
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The decision to give the go-ahead for an upgrade of the A5 between Londonderry and Strabane, and the building of a dual carriageway between Omagh and Ballygawley, has been confirmed.

A5 upgrade 'green light' confirmed
The A5 project has been at the centre of controversy, facing strong opposition. (© UTV/Google Earth)

UTV reported earlier this month that the £330m project was being given the green light, despite more than 2,000 objections from local people and landowners being lodged.

The final decision, confirmed on Tuesday, comes after a public inquiry into the proposed upgrade.

The work, which is scheduled to begin in the autumn, could create up to 800 construction jobs and is expected to take two-and-a-half years to complete.

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy confirmed that a report by inspectors had recommended the scheme go ahead as planned - but subject to key amendments.

That means work on the Ballygawley to Aughnacloy section, which has been at the centre of strong opposition, will be postponed and the A4/A5 Tullyvar Road roundabout will be retained.

I assure those land and property owners that Roads Service will continue to work to reach agreement and resolve, where possible, any outstanding individual difficulties.

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy

But the minister said he welcomed the findings and added that the A5 upgrade will help to improve road safety in the area.

"There are almost 1,400 junctions and accesses onto the existing A5 which contribute to the potential for accidents along this route," Mr Kennedy said.

"The collision history is a factor which cannot be ignored."

In recognising the opposition to some parts of the scheme, he added: "Every effort has been made to reduce the impact of the road scheme on property and landowners.

"The rights of those affected are safeguarded and they will receive compensation in accordance with a series of Acts of Parliament, case law and established practice."

Chairman of the Regional Development committee, Jimmy Spratt, welcomed the publication of the inspectors' report on the A5.

"In accepting the report recommendations, the minister has taken a pragmatic approach to the proposed scheme which will bring much-needed and significant investment in jobs within the construction industry - whilst at the same time listening to the arguments made by those opposed to the Aughnacloy section of the scheme," he said.

"It is important that the contractors cooperate with the landowners and that landowners are adequately compensated for their property and any inconvenience during the construction process."

SDLP West Tyrone MLA Joe Byrne was also positive about the announcement and said it would provide an economic boost to the North-West.

"Having spent 25 years campaigning for this infrastructural improvement, I am delighted that it has finally been given the green light," he said.

"This will come as welcome news to our struggling construction industry, as this project is expected to create up to 800 jobs in this sector."

© UTV News
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3 Comments
Realist in England wrote (725 days ago):
g gillen - could that be because you use that flyover more than you would use the N2/A5 road? The reality is that the people in the extreme north west are have very poor road infrastructure compared to those on the eastern seaboard and, after a decade of heavy investment, most other parts of the country. Derry and Letterkenny rank among some of the largest cities/towns in the country. It should not take as long as it does to drive from Dublin to those places (or vice versa, obviously). AA Route Planner says that both journeys are about 145 miles and both should take around 3 hours 25 mins at present. It suggests that a similar length journey in England (say Bromsgrove to Exeter), should take an hour less. Belfast people seem to ignore the fact that the really good roads finish when you reach the end of the commuter belt. The A5 road improvements are needed - why should people in the north west (who also pay taxes) be ignored whilst good roads are built everywhere else? The world doesn't end at Ligoniel or Tallaght any more than it ends at Newry or Dundalk.
co antrim in N Antrim wrote (730 days ago):
g gillen, why do you seem to think that Belfast is the only place that needs upgrading? Belfast, perhaps could do with a flyover but other roads need upgrading too; read the article.
g gillen in belfast wrote (730 days ago):
the money would be better spent on a flyover at the york road westlink/m2 junction
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