Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has confirmed the Narrow Water Bridge and Ulster Canal Projects could move to construction of the preferred solution in 2019, subject to completion of further community engagement and statutory procedures.
Minister Hazzard said:
“On becoming the Minister for Infrastructure I set out my strong commitment to take forward key north south projects set out in the Fresh Start Agreement, including the Narrow Water Bridge project and the Ulster Canal. These are projects which could be truly transformative, unlocking the economic and in particular the tourism potential of their local areas.
“Over recent months, working with my Ministerial colleagues in the south and key stakeholders, significant progress has been made on both projects. A meeting is now being arranged with key stakeholders to identify the preferred option for the Narrow Water Bridge project. I am determined this is taken forward as a priority with a view to reaching early agreement and enabling construction to begin by 2019, subject to funding and statutory procedures.”
Highlighting the need for the Narrow Water Bridge Project and the Newry Southern Relief Road to be taken forward as complementary projects, the Minister also announced that he has instructed officials to take forward planning and development work on the Newry Southern Relief Road to allow the introduction of the Statutory Orders by 2019.
Welcoming progress made on the restoration of the Lough Erne to Castlesaunderson section of the Ulster Canal, Minister Hazzard set out his commitment to work with the southern Government to restore the remaining section of the Ulster Canal with a focus in the first instance on restoration of the section to Clones.
Minister Hazzard said:
“The establishment of the Ulster Canal Advisory Forum earlier this year, bringing together all key stakeholders, provides a unique opportunity to build on the progress that has been made and continue restoration of this important economic asset. I am determined to do all I can to support this work with the aim of taking forward development and planning of sections beyond Castlesaunderson to allow construction to begin in 2019."
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