The go ahead for the first phase of the A5 upgrade will be a welcome boost for the construction industry, the Department for Infrastructure has said.
Work on dualling the 15 kms section between Newbuildings and Strabane will cost £150m and is set to begin within a few months.
The announcement on the Derry to Dublin road this week, which followed a lengthy planning process, has been met with delight on both sides of the border.
The Department’s Permanent Secretary, Peter May said: “Construction will start as soon as possible. The decision to proceed takes account of the clear direction from the previous Executive that this flagship project should commence as soon as possible. The outgoing Infrastructure Minister [Chris Hazzard] was also clear that the A5 Western Transport Corridor scheme was a key priority.
“This is a strategically important project for the region and one which will benefit the economy as a whole.
“In the current economic climate, this announcement will be welcome news for the construction industry.
“The scheme should lead to an increase in demand for local suppliers of construction materials, as well as a boost to commercial trade in the surrounding area.”
Under the Fresh Start Agreement the Irish Government has agreed to contribute £75m over three years, as part of a wider project to develop the entire route to Dublin.
Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said the project “will be of huge benefit to our construction industry.”
“The importance of this project has never been more important given the implications of Brexit,” he added.
Donegal TD, Joe McHugh added: “This is a hugely important day for the people of Donegal and for the people of Derry and Tyrone at a time when we are working better together than ever before.”