Ben Lowry: Misleading claims of a transport infrastructure bias west of the Bann

The A6 Moneynick Road which is due to be upgraded
The A6 Moneynick Road which is due to be upgraded

During the week I wrote an article about some of the fine roads that have been built in Northern Ireland, or are at an advanced stage of planning (‘This is a great time to be a roads enthusiast in Northern Ireland’).

But there has been some highly misleading commentary about transport infrastructure west of the Bann, implying that the region is discriminated against.

These accusations typically do not take account of population size or population density or traffic levels on particular stretches of single carriageway road that are candidates for upgrade to dual carriageway.

Overwhelmingly, the most dangerous and congested such stretches of road, the most urgent upgrades, have been east of the Bann.

I say that as someone who strongly supports the upgrade of both the A5 and the A6 roads, for strategic and symbolic purposes (now that four more dangerous and urgent road stretches in the Province have been or are being, upgraded – A1, 4, 6 and 26).

Similarly, there is misleading talk about the Belfast to Londonderry rail line.

If anyone can point me to anywhere in Europe that has a major, fast and high frequency rail line between cities of 500,000 and 100,000 people, around 75 miles apart (that are not part of a longer route between bigger cities) please do.

I know cities in France of similar size and proximity to Belfast and Londonderry that are badly linked by train, or not at all, despite the fact that France has far better transport infrastructure than us.

• Ben Lowry (@BenLowry2) is News Letter deputy editor

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