A vesting order to acquire land for dualling of the A6 between Dungiven and Drumahoe will come into effect in September, it has been confirmed.
The vesting order for this stretch of the major road scheme to improve access between the north west and Belfast includes a long awaited plan for a bypass of Dungiven.
The order was made on Tuesday and will take effect on September 19.
A Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said: “The Dungiven to Drumahoe dualling scheme is another key step in improving the transport connections to the North West. This vesting order will allow the Department for Infrastructure to acquire the necessary land to move the project forward.
“Upgrading this section of the A6 will improve journey times and more significantly, will make the journey time more reliable for the 13,000 vehicles daily on this key economic corridor which is fundamental in enhancing connectivity and unlocking the economic potential of the whole region.”
The Department officials said they fully appreciated the impact the scheme will have on affected residential, commercial and agricultural owners.
“Officials are in detailed discussions with these owners in an attempt to ease the impacts as far as is reasonably practicable,” the spokesperson said. “Compensation will be provided for the compulsory acquisition of any land and properties required for the scheme, and this is being dealt with by Land and Property Services on behalf of the Department.”
Upon successful completion of the tendering process, which is now underway, it is anticipated that construction works will commence on site in the spring of 2018 and take up to four years to complete.
To provide the local community with an opportunity to view the scheme in more detail, a leaflet will be issued to households along the length of the project.
Display boards have also now been erected in the library in Dungiven and at the YMCA in Drumahoe and will remain at these locations until December 29.
In December 2011, the Department published the Draft Statutory Orders for the A6 Dungiven to Drumahoe scheme, including an Environmental Statement, the Draft Direction Order and the Notice of Intention to Make a Vesting Order.
Subsequently, a public inquiry into the scheme proposals was held in September and October 2012.
After considering the findings of the Public Inquiry, the Department announced in February 2016 that the A6 Dungiven to Dumahoe scheme would proceed, subject to availability of funding.
An exercise exploring the extent of the initial phase of the A6 improvement scheme concluded that the funding could deliver the 25.5 kilometres between Dungiven and Drumahoe.
Budget approval for the project was agreed by the NI Executive through its 2016-17 budget, published on January 19, 2016, which not only provided funding for the 2017-18 year but also up to 2020-21 for a number of ‘flagship projects’, including the A6.