A6 road plans have had enough scrutiny and work must begin

Morning View
Morning View

The road between the two biggest cities in Northern Ireland and Londonderry has been inadequate for decades.

While traffic levels on parts of the route are relatively light, on other sections they are higher and there have been a number of particular bottlenecks and accident troublespots.

The town of Toome was long plagued with traffic until it was bypassed more than a decade ago. But the road on either side of Toome, between Castledawson and the western end of the M22, near Randalstown, the so-called Moneynick Road, is twisting and dangerous. It is wholly ill-suited for such an important strategic and symbolic route.

Perhaps, if local political parties and the then direct rule government had been bold 25 years ago, everyone might have thrown their weight behind a tolled motorway as a peace and infrastructure project, partly self funding, to link Belfast and the NW. No such thinking emerged. Instead, over a painfully long time plans for a gradual upgrade of the route to dual carriageway, implemented in stages, has edged towards fruition.

We report today, link below, on a fresh delay to the scheme after an environmentalist lodged an appeal to a court case that he previously lost.

News of the latest setback to the road has been met with dismay from a range of voices.

Seamus Leheny of the Freight Transport Association said the appeal was “ultimately costing the taxpayers money and holding up the courts as well, all because of one litigant”.

Ian Parsley, link below, issues a blistering verdict on the saga.

All well-run societies pay close heed to their environment, and have strict planning procedures for infrastructure projects. That has clearly been the case in this A6 upgrade.

The scheme has made its way through comprehensive scrutiny mechanisms. The legal appeal against that process failed. Work should get under way now, and not wait for yet more costly court hearings.

New A6 delay damaging economy every day

Ian Parsley: The latest delay to the A6 road upgrade makes a mockery of democracy