The six-day public enquiry into the Derry to Dungiven dualling project will hear from more than 100 objectors.
Held in Limavady, the enquiry is costing in the region of £150,000, according to a Alan Keys, Strategic Road Improvement Manager with the Department of Regional Development.
After it finishes next Tuesday, a report on its findings will take approximately six months to complete, according to Mr. Keys.
“Objectors cover the full spectrum of people along the route,” Mr. Keys told the “Journal”, “mainly, I would say, residents along the route and landowners that are affected by the proposals.”
Speaking on Day Two of the Enquiry, Mr. Keys explained that when the Department of Regional Development published the draft orders for the A6 scheme in December 2011 a number of objections were received at that time.
“I think there were over 110 objections, plus representations made to the Department objecting to various aspects of the scheme,” he said.
“The Department aimed to resolve those objections, but it became apparent we wouldn’t be able to resolve all those to the satisfaction of everyone so the Minister then approved the holding of a Public Enquiry. All the objections could be aired, and an Inspector would then make recommendations as to how those objections should be treated, and how the Department should respond.”
Mr. Keys said most of the objections relate to people’s particular property and their lands, and the vesting of them.
“There were a couple of objectors who were against the whole scheme, perhaps they feel there is no need for a dual carriageway, and one of the objections this morning (Tuesday) was articulating that view that there was no need for the scheme,” he said.
“Most objectors are content there is a need for the scheme, but they’re looking at how it affects their particular property.
“It could be how close the scheme comes to their property, or the amount of land that we are taking, or the fact they may be inconvenienced maybe by having to go further to access land on the other side of the roads, things like that.”
Mr. Keys said objectors cover the “full spectrum” of people along the route, including residents and landowners affected by the proposals.
Mr. Keys said out of all the objections none disputed the need for a bypass for Dungiven.
“We haven’t had any objections for Dungiven bypass itself,” he said.
“There are some people who would say the route for the bypass is maybe not the correct route, but no objections to the bypass at the moment.”
Mr. Keys said if the scheme proceeds as expected, and in stages, Dungiven would be first stage of that.
“The bypass is high on the agenda and again if the scheme were to proceed as expected, if it was to go in stages, the Dungiven bypass would be the first stage of that expenditure,” he said.
Once the Enquiry concludes on Tuesday, the Inspector and the assistant inspector will draw up their report on the Enquiry and they will make recommendations to the Department as to how they feel the objections should be dealt with.
“I would have thought it would take the Inspector six months to reach his conclusions and write his report,” said Mr. Keys.
“Then he submits that report to Roads Service headquarters and that report is considered and the Department makes a response.”
To date, Mr. Keys said hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent on the A6 Scheme.
“In the context of a scheme that is costing £350-£400 million you would expect to spend £10-20 million developing the scheme,” said Mr. Keys.
“The Enquiry is costing in the region of £150,000.”