A5 cost spikes to £1.7bn with projected completion out to 2028: NIAO

The cost of the A5 has risen by another £100m to £1.7billion while the projected completion date has been pushed out to 2028, a new audit report has revealed.
Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announcing increased A5 funding last week.Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announcing increased A5 funding last week.
Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announcing increased A5 funding last week.

The total cost of the massive road project has spoked by £600m in under five years.

The review of major capital projects published this morning by the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) provides fresh details on the Derry to Augnacloy road.

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Auditor General Dorinnia Carville’s report points to ongoing delays and cost overruns.

The A5The A5
The A5

"The project continues to be delayed. Following a third public inquiry, DfI received the final advisory report from the Planning Appeals Commission and is now considering the points raised and detailed recommendations made.

"This project was originally planned to be completed in 2018 at a cost of £799 million. Subject to the outcome of the PAC inquiry, DfI’s latest estimate is for completion in 2028 at a cost of £1.7bn,” the report states.

The road project was boosted last week by the Irish Government’s decision to reinstate and increase its financial commitment to €600m (£514m).

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But the overall cost has now risen by £600m since March 2019 when the estimate was £1.1bn.

The A6, though substantially completed, also comes under scrutiny.

The Auditor General refers to delays and rising costs due to Brexit, COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine and points out that the northernmost section of the road will not be completed this year as planned because of issues around the Mobuoy dump.

She states: “It was originally expected to cost £594m and is now expected to cost £655m. It is substantially complete. The project was to be delivered in two sections, with the second section split in to two phases.

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"The first section (Randalstown to Castledawson) opened in May 2021 and is expected to have a final cost of £192m (compared to an original planned completion date of October 2020 and original estimated cost of £184m).

"Phase one of section two (Dungiven to Drumahoe) was opened in April 2023 at an estimated final cost of £264m (compared to a planned completion date of 2021 and cost of £239m).

“DfI told us COVID-19 had an unprecedented negative impact on delivery of the A6 scheme, and this was exacerbated on the A6 Dungiven to Drumahoe section by the impacts of Brexit, the war in Ukraine and other inflationary pressures.

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"Phase two of section two (Caw to Drumahoe) was originally estimated to be completed by 2024 however the Department for Infrastructure told us it is on hold as works will encroach on to the illegal Mobouy waste site.”

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The audit report observes that the northernmost section was placed on hold in March 2019 and that up until August 2023 £6.8m had been spent on it.

Ms. Carville looked at seven flagship projects across the North and found only one, the Belfast Rapid Transit project, was fully


“It remains extremely concerning that, more than four years after my Office’s last report on this issue, there is little evidence of improvement or past lessons learned being applied to new projects.

"Even among the flagship projects, identified as the NI Executive’s highest priority, progress has been very limited. It is clear that departments are not achieving value for money in the delivery of these major capital projects,” she said.