Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced her intention to progress a number of strategic infrastructure schemes and flagship projects as part of her plan to aid economic recovery and community transformation
Within the Minister’s budget statement to the Assembly on Wednesday, she included the funding for the continued development of strategic roads schemes and flagship projects. The Minister has now asked officials to push forward on the development of these important schemes such as the A1 Junctions Phase 2, A24 Ballynahinch By Pass, A4 Enniskillen Southern By Pass, Newry Southern Relief Road, A29 Cookstown By Pass, A2 Buncrana Road and A32 ( Omagh to Enniskillen) at Cornamuck. The Minister has now set the wheels in motion and has asked officials to work at pace to progress these schemes. The Minister intends to provide further announcements later to keep the public updated on progress.
The Minister has also reaffirmed her commitment to the A5 and A6 schemes. While Covid-19 has impacted construction work on the A6, this is continuing and it is hoped that the Toome to Castledawson section could be completed in Spring 2021.
In relation to the A5, following a public inquiry and the successful completion of the statutory processes, construction could commence in mid 2021.
Minister Mallon said:
“These strategic and flagship road improvement schemes span Northern Ireland and will deliver for many communities and help to address regional imbalance.
“Many communities across the North have waited a long time for progress to be made and while Covid-19 has left considerable challenges, I have been determined to get the wheels in motion and get these schemes back on track.
“Each scheme is at a different stage and I have asked my officials to bring forward plans to press ahead in the short and longer term.
“I have also asked officials to bring forward proposals to progress Narrow Water Bridge, a commitment in New Decade New Approach, which would fully explore the environmental and economic benefits this project would deliver for the people of South Down.
“While these are uncertain and difficult times, with a focus on green recovery, I also recognise that our road infrastructure needs updated to relieve traffic in towns, explore options for active travel and reshape our places to deliver towns and cities that work for our communities and aid economic growth.
“I hope to be in a position in the coming weeks to provide a further update on the progress being made.”
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