Plan for the new A6 dual carriageway from Derry to Belfast were unveiled this week.
The extensive plans, which include provision for a bypass at Dungiven, have been presented to affected landowners along the proposed route.
The unveiling of the plans followed from the DRD’s publication in December of its intention to officially move ahead with the acquisition of lands along the route, subsequent to the completion of the period of notice given. The Department has also indicated that it has completed the necessary Environmental Impact Assessment, highlighting the benefits of the dualling project in terms of reduced journey times and road safety.
Welcoming the unveiling of the plans, Foyle MLA, Colum Eastwood, said that with these necessary planning steps having been taken, the Minister should direct the additional capital funds from the Chancellor’s Autumn statement to begin work on the “shovel ready” project. The Derry MLA emphasised that the upgrade of the A6 was badly needed by commuters and businesses in the North West. “The A6 from Derry to Belfast has for years been a metaphor for the historical infrastructural neglect of the North west region and its urban centre in Derry. It has stood testament to the lack of connectivity for people and businesses within this region, resulting in a peripheral economic base. This has not been a fiction generated by the bias of localism, it is a factual assessment of economic strategy over many years’.
“Commuters have for years faced major delays on the road to Belfast, no more so than on the stretch of road currently connecting the city to Dungiven. This bypass should prove of major benefit to commuters on the route. It is only the first step, however, and the dualling of the road to Derry should be commenced in tandem with works on the bypass’. He said that it is envisaged that all of the necessary planning regulations and consultations should be completed by March. He added: “There is no reason why the project should be further delayed after this date. The Autumn statement, delivered by the British Chancellor George Osborne, resulted in the North receiving an additional 156 million in capital funds as a result of the Barnett consequential. Resources for immediate investment in infrastructure are therefore available. Minister Kennedy should place priority on the A6 project.”