Case against A6 has had multiple hearings. Now it needs built

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

The A6 road between Belfast and Londonderry is the route between the two biggest cities in Northern Ireland.

It has at parts low traffic levels, even today, which is the main reason why it has not been fully upgraded to dual carriageway over the years (as opposed to the often-cited reason of discrimination against the Northwest).

Despite the low traffic levels at points of the route and despite the vast expense that will be involved in upgrading the road over the Glenshane Pass, the importance of Northern Ireland’s capital city, Belfast, and its second city, Londonderry, are a key symbolic reason for it one day to be fully upgraded.

A stretch of the road west of Randalstown, beyond the far end of the M22, is the most congested part of the intercity route.

The existing single carriageway is not only entirely inadequate for such an important strategic road, it is dangerous.

Vehicles that have a reasonable expectation of making fast progress on the A6 find that they are caught behind tractors and lorries and can be tempted to make deadly overtaking manoeuvres.

At long last, this stretch of road towards Castledawson is to be upgraded, through countryside associated with the much lover Ulster poet and genius, Seamus Heaney. But an environmental objection has held up the work on part of this section of the A6.

The road scheme passed through a comprehensive planning process. The legal objection was rejected first by the Northern Ireland high court.

Yesterday it was rejected by the highest court in the Province, with the lord chief justice, Sir Declan Morgan, at the helm.

This whole process has shown that there are robust legal processes for road schemes, as there should be.

The legal action has held up the overall A6 upgrade, and so cost the state a lot of money.

Now the matter is settled, and construction must proceed, and not await further possible court appeals.