The lack of action over improvement works to the A6 between Randalstown and Castledawson is adding millions of pounds of costs for mid-Ulster’s critical manufacturing sector as it struggles to get people and goods through the biggest bottleneck in Northern Ireland’s roads system.
That’s the claim by industry body Manufacturing Northern Ireland (MNI), which is spearheading a call for for the immediate start to the improvement works to end punishing delays on the A6 at both Moneynick and the Toome Bypass.
“The debate around roads congestion issues in Belfast this past week is important but what’s been lost is that employers, exporters and commuters are enduring millions of pounds of additional cost, lost productivity and time by not even being able to make it to or from Belfast via the M22 and A6,” said MNI chief executive Stephen Kelly.
“Manufacturers would much rather be investing this money in new plant and premises and creating more jobs.
“An immediate start to improving the A6 from the motorway to Castledawson is the most important infrastructure investment to be made right now.
“Other schemes including completing the A6 to Derry, the A5 in the West and of course York Street Interchange must be fast tracked to not only deal with decades of underinvestment but to remove expensive delays in getting products to and from the market.”
Businesses in the area have expressed frustration and dismay at the prospect of further delays to a project which has already been delayed for decades, he said.
Mark Cuskeran of market leading SDC Trailers, said that his company and many others need a road system updated and fit for purpose.
“We have 700 of our 950 staff based in our Toome facility and there are always huge delays due to the outdated road system.
“This is costing SDC Trailers significant money, which we could well direct towards expansion, staff training and new jobs. It is essential that issues in relation to this much needed initiative are swiftly dealt with so that the road project is completed to the benefit of the whole community.”