Roads Minister Chriz Hazzard has promised the five kilometre Dungiven bypass the town has been waiting for for 50 years will be a priority for the Department of Infrastructure.
However, he has reiterated his predecessor Michelle McIlveen’s view that there will be no shovels in the ground until 2019 at the earliest.
Residents to the north of the Glenshane pass will be looking on enviously this Auttumn as the dualling of the Randalstown to Castledawson section of the A6 proceeds in October.
But Mr Hazzard has promised the Dungiven to Derry section, which, he agrees, will “significantly improve connectivity between Derry and Belfast and contribute to enhancing the economy of the Northwest” is high on his agenda.
“Work is currently underway to determine the extent of the Derry to Dungiven scheme that can be delivered within the funding allocations contained in the December 2015 Budget Statement, with priority being given to commencing construction with a bypass of Dungiven and progressing westwards towards Drumahoe,” said Mr Hazzard.
He again suggested construction of the new road way, which will itself take a number of years to complete, will not get underway for another two and a half years.
“Subject to making the statutory orders, approval of the final business case and successful procurement, it is possible that the first phase of the Derry to Dungiven scheme could commence in the latter part of 2018/19,” he projected.
The Minister has also indicated that the cost of the dualling of the northernmost stretch of the A6 could rise to close to £500m.
He stated: “The cost range for the whole scheme, between Derry and Dungiven, is £390 million to £420 million, although a review of this is currently being carried out.”