The A5 road will be 10 years late and £301m over budget at least - a state of affairs the Auditor General Kieran Donnelly has said is ‘disappointing’.
Mr. Donnelly, in an audit report published yesterday, said the Derry to Aughnacloy road was one of three major public projects that had encountered significant problems.
It was, he said, brought to “the point of construction on schedule in August 2012 but is currently expected to be delivered 10 years later than the original planned delivery date as a result of several legal challenges and uncertainty over future funding”.
Department of Infrastructure estimates indicate that costs for “the A5 will exceed the outline business case costs by 38 % [£301m] and delivery will be 10 years later than expected”.
The A6 Derry to Belfast road, meanwhile, also features although the auditor points out that the Randalstown to Castledawson and Dungiven to Drumahoe sections are likely to be delivered for close to, or less than, the forecast cost and within a year of deadline. Funding has not been identified for the Caw to Drumahoe section of the A6 which has been put on hold due to ongoing remediation difficulties at the Mobuoy dump site.
“Major capital projects are complex, and delivery problems are not unique to NI. That said, it is disappointing that, while some projects are delivered on time and within budget, many suffer significant cost overruns and time delays. Even flagship projects identified as the NI Executive’s highest priority, and with funding secured over a longer period, have not met their original delivery targets,” said the chief auditor.