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A5 work scheduled to start in October
THE first sod on the A5 dual-carriageway project could be cut sometime in October this year if all legal and other potential challenges are overcome.
Project Sponsor, Conor Loughrey, told the Strabane Chronicle that the new A5 has the potential to transform the areas which will be bypassed when the biggest ever roads project in the North is finally finished in 2015.
Two sections of the road north of Strabane and south of Omagh will begin in the autumn.
It is still unknown when work on the middle section between the two towns will commence as it is dependent on funding from the Republic.
“This is the biggest ever roads scheme for Northern Ireland and we’re looking at an October start. The notion of intention to proceed and the draft orders are being published this week and the vesting orders will then come into operation at the start of September,” said Mr Loughrey.
“This will then pave the way for construction to start in October and we will be working with the contractors. All of this is subject to any challenges which may be submitted.
“I have been involved in this project since it was first mentioned in 2007. There have been many challenges since then and we are very pleased to have reached this stage. The Inspector has recommended the scheme and Minister Danny Kennedy has now given it the green light.”
Mr Loughrey said that the Department of Regional Development (DRD) will continue to liaise with all landowners affected by the sections scheduled to start in October and has been doing so since February.
He also expressed the hope that the new road would have a positive impact on local communities and points out that the work on the two initial sections will facilitate the completion of the third part of the road between Omagh and Strabane.
“Our experience of places like Newtownstewart is that the removal of traffic from the village or town centre in general terms makes it better to live and operate there,” he added.
“We will be building the junctions which will then link into the middle section. This will make the continuation of the road and delivery of the middle section much easier.”