Council warns A5 road ‘unfit for purpose’

The A5.
The A5.

Derry & Strabane Council have warned that poor connectivity is hampering efforts to advance the local economy in fresh consultation over the A5 dualling project.

The Council have issued the stark warning: “The longer the connectivity problem exists, the worse it will get and the more it will cost to rectify.”

Derry & Strabane’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee have endorsed a draft response to be submitted to the government following further consultation on the massive road project between Derry and the border at Aughnacloy, on the route towards Dublin.

The consultation on the draft orders and environmental statement for the 85 km A5 dualling project is set to end in the coming weeks.

In its official response, the Council reiterates that the route “currently remains a single carriageway road, unfit for purpose and operating a significantly beyond the capacity for single carriageway road”. it goes on to warn of high accident rate on a route which currently has T1368 junctions and private accesses.

The response also warns: “Poor connectivity is a key inhibitor to the economic growth and improved transport infrastructure is a critical enabler if the North West and the Border Area are to achieve their full economic and social potential and contribute towards the wider economic success of the island of Ireland.

“Slow and often unreliable journey times have an impact on business competitiveness and make the Border Area a less attractive location for both indigenous firms to grow and other companies to invest.

“The North West suffers from a serious competitive disadvantage when compared with other areas of Ireland. The region and the whole Border Area have seen relative under investment in their area on a per capita basis. This is a socially inequitable outcome which it is in government’s interest to address as a matter of urgency.”

The response also states that Derry is the fourth largest city in Ireland and yet has no motorway, and highlights the comparative lack of investment and employment in the north west, including Donegal.

Sinn Fein Councillor Brian McMahon stressed that the project was needed to “revitalise the whole North West- not just Derry and Strabane but the whole Donegal region as well.”

The Committee endorsed the Council response, with the exception of Independent Councillor Derek Hussey, who abstained.