A welcome consensus on naming of new road stretch on Belfast to Londonderry route

News Letter editorial of Thursday July 30 2021:

Friday, 30th July 2021, 4:22 pm
Updated Friday, 30th July 2021, 5:35 pm
News Letter editorial

A recommendation for renaming part of the new A6 dual carriageway has both DUP and Sinn Fein support.

Councillors John Smyth of the DUP and Henry Cushinan of Sinn Fein agree that the improved stretch of road should be called the New Moneynick Road.

How pleasing it is to read of such a consensus, rather than tribal warring over a contentious term that might please one section of the community and antagonise another.

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It is a simple and good name, replacing the old Moneynick Road, which has been reclassified as a B road.

There is so much to celebrate about this new route.

It overhauls a completely inadequate section of the Belfast to Londonderry road at the north western end of the M22, creating a long stretch of motorway and dual carriageway from Belfast to Castledawson, well on the way to the Glenshane Pass.

On the far side of the pass, work is under way on a dual carriageway most of the remaining distance to the Maiden City.

The road between the two biggest cities in Northern Ireland has been substandard since car ownership became widespread more than 50 years ago.

This is not, as some claim, due to discrimination but rather due to very low traffic levels. The westerly parts of the route fell well below the numbers needed to justify dualling.

Yet at the same time, there was a strong symbolic case for an upgrade, given the status of the two cities.

Soon the route will have the road that it deserves.

It is the latest major expressway to be built in the Province.

There is now such a road between Belfast and Ballymoney, Ballygawley, Larne and Newry.

Fifteen years ago all those routes had single carriageway roads in which fast moving traffic got caught behind tractors.

Such a situation is dangerous.

There were therefore safety as well as commercial reasons to invest in dualling.

We should hail the improvements, despite the lateness of it.

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