Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd has attended a special meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council where he reiterated his commitment to the delivery of the A5 Western Transport Corridor project.
Following the meeting Minister O’Dowd said:
“I welcomed the opportunity to update Members of Derry City and Strabane District Council on where we currently stand with the A5 Western Transport Corridor scheme. All those in attendance shared the same vision and commitment as I do - to see this significant flagship project delivered as quickly as possible.
“I am acutely aware of the collision history on the A5. Too many lives have been lost and my sincere condolences go out to all those families who have lost a loved one. I also sympathise with those who have been injured in road traffic collisions.
“The long-awaited new A5 dual carriageway is therefore essential, first and foremost to improve road safety. It is also a strategically important route that will contribute to economic growth and improve connectivity across the island. It is vitally important that the A5 moves forward without further delay and I can confirm that my Department is doing all that we can within our powers to move forward with the scheme.
“I want to reassure Council Members and the public that my officials are working closely with the PAC to ensure that the reconvened public inquiry is held as soon as possible. Receipt of the PAC’s final report should then allow a new Ministerial decision to be taken and, subject to the successful completion of all the necessary statutory processes and environmental assessments, construction could then commence in 2024.”
Notes to editors:
- On completion, the A5 WTC project will provide 85 kilometres of new high standard dual carriageway between New Buildings and just south of Aughnacloy.
- In September 2020, the Department received an Interim Report from the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) on its findings from the Public Inquiry held in February and March 2020. It contained two key recommendations, in relation to the need for further assessments on (a) flood risk and (b) scheme alternatives.
- The PAC adjourned the Public Inquiry to allow these recommendations to be incorporated into a new addendum to the Environmental Statement and made available for further public consultation.
- A new Environmental Statement Addendum and associated documentation were published on 16 March of this year, commencing a consultation process that concluded on 6 May.
- The representations (220 in all) have been collated and discussions are ongoing with the PAC to ensure the reconvened public inquiry is held as soon as possible
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