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Major dual carriageway schemes announced - Murphy

14 November, 2007

Sinn Féin Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy today took significant steps towards two major dual carriageway schemes.

The Minister announced the commissioning of consultants to undertake a route corridor study for the 88km stretch of the A5 from Derry to the border at Aughnacloy and 16km of the A8 from Belfast to Larne. These studies form the first phase of the plans to upgrade these routes to dual carriageway standard.

This announcement follows the Irish Government's intention to make available £400million to help fund major roads programmes and marks the beginning of what will be an unprecedented level of road building in the North, with a total of 104km of dual carriageway to be constructed at a cost of approximately £660million.

The Minister said:

"The 88km of dualling on the A5 is by far the single largest road project ever to be undertaken here. This scheme represents another significant link in the development of the road infrastructure to the west of the Bann. This, combined with the 20.5km of dualling on the A4 from Dungannon to Ballygawley and a total of 44km of dualling schemes on the A6 between Derry and the M22 represents an enormous investment in the west.

"These schemes will generate much wider social and economic benefits and signal my continued commitment to improving the physical infrastructure west of the Bann."

"In addition the A8 scheme will complete a minimum standard of dual carriageway from Larne to Belfast. Indeed this scheme will complete a minimum standard of dual carriageway along our entire Eastern Seaboard Corridor which runs from Larne through Belfast to the border at Newry. This will be a most welcome investment for the Port of Larne and will help ensure that it has a sustainable future.

"The upgrading of these routes will bring significant benefits to the road users with reduced journey times and improved levels of safety. Indeed it will provide economic benefit across the island."

The route options for both the A5 and A8 dual carriageway schemes will be developed and presented in due course at a number of public exhibitions. Feedback from these consultations will be considered, along with the assessment of environmental, safety, economic, accessibility and integration issues before a preferred option is chosen.

Upon the selection of the preferred routes it will be necessary to move through the normal statutory procedures of environmental statement, direction order and compulsory land acquisition before the construction can commence.

Notes to Editors:

The A8 connects Larne with Belfast and is designated as a Key Transport Corridor.

The A5 connects Derry with the border at Aughnacloy, via Strabane and Omagh and is designated as a Key Transport Corridor.

Roads Service and its consultants will consult widely on the planning of these schemes.

Work will now concentrate on the selection of a preferred corridor for each scheme. A preferred route within the corridors will then be selected and it is anticipated that these routes will be published mid/late 2009.

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