A5 public inquiry that was scheduled for next week delayed until March at least

A reconvened public inquiry into the long-awaited A5 that had been due to open next week has been put back until at least March.
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The delay is to allow for a public consultation on layout drawings for the entire length of the 85 kilometre, £1.6 billion road upgrade, which were published by the Department for Infrastructure this week.

DfI is inviting views from the public on the A5 Supplementary Environmental Information, including the drawings and an accompanying report which was published on Wednesday.

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The reconvened public inquiry had been scheduled to start on January 25 but has been put back until after March 3, when the consultation period closes.

The New Buildings North to New Buildings South stretch of the road.The New Buildings North to New Buildings South stretch of the road.
The New Buildings North to New Buildings South stretch of the road.

This week a group campaigning for work to start on the new A5 has confirmed that a number of family members of victims of crashes on the road will attend the launch of a new Enough is Enough campaign next Monday evening.

Chairman Niall McKenna said: “We have been contacted by a large number of family members who have lost someone to a death on the A5. They are very supportive of what we are trying to achieve and they are planning to attend our launch on Monday evening.

“Some of them said that they’d lost hope in the process to develop a new road but that our campaign has rekindled their hope that something positive will come from their own devastation.

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"It’s our plan to amplify the positive calls for the new road because quite simply it’s time that the authorities in charge got on with it.”

New Buildings South to North of BreadyNew Buildings South to North of Bready
New Buildings South to North of Bready

Launching the new public consultation on Wednesday, DfI confirmed that following a request by the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) the Department has made available a report containing layout drawings alongside longitudinal profiles and cross sections.

DfI explained that at a mid-inquiry meeting administered by the PAC on November 15, 2022, objections were raised to the inclusion of new supplementary information to an Environmental Statement Addendum that had been published by the department.

The objectors contended the information had been published at ‘short notice’, DfI said.

Read More
Cost of A5 soars to £1.6bn – three times the original cost
North of Bready to North of CloghcorNorth of Bready to North of Cloghcor
North of Bready to North of Cloghcor
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According to DfI the PAC concluded that ‘insufficient time was allowed for members of the public to respond to this new consultation on the run-up to the festive break and scheduled inquiry’ and ‘it therefore postponed the inquiry’.

“In addition, the Commission requested some significant additional information be made available and consulted on, asking that the Department produce and consult on longitudinal and cross-sections over the full length of the scheme.

The Department is now complying with this PAC request and will commence a new consultation on January 18, concluding on March 3, 2023.

“It is hoped that the reconvened public inquiry be swiftly reconvened thereafter, the timing being at the discretion of the PAC,” the department said.

North of Cloghcor to North of BallymagorryNorth of Cloghcor to North of Ballymagorry
North of Cloghcor to North of Ballymagorry
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Back in November the ‘Journal’ reported how the cost of the A5 had soared to £1.6billion – three times the projected outlay when the road upgrade was announced 16 years ago.

The cost was outlined in a fresh DfI economic appraisal that revealed that, after taking into account of current prices and factoring in future inflation, the cost of the scheme had risen substantially.

Information relating to the public inquiry has been published on the PAC website at: www.pacni.gov.uk/news-centre/public-local-inquiry-a5-western-transport-corridor-road-scheme-1