Mid Ulster District Council has secured a commitment that plans for the long-awaited A29 Cookstown bypass are finally to be progressed.
The assurance came after a delegation from the council met with the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) last month to lobby for the scheme development to resume.
While the preferred route for the bypass was first approved in March 2010, a lack of funding delayed any progress until 2016 when monies were made available for preparatory work. However, further work was again hampered by budgetary uncertainties until now.
Welcoming confirmation that development work will resume, Councillor Kim Ashton, Chair of the council, said: “The development of the Cookstown bypass has long been identified as one of Mid Ulster’s strategic road infrastructure needs, and is essential to ensure we address transport links which are vital not just for our businesses, particularly our manufacturing sector, to grow, but also for making improvements to the journey times for local people.
“This is good news for Cookstown and for Mid Ulster and I am very pleased that we have had such a swift response and positive outcome following the council’s meeting with the department.”
Development work will include the undertaking of new surveys and a design review before moving to the production of draft statutory orders and an Environmental Impact Assessment Report.
Asked if they could provide estimated costings or a likely timeframe for the project, a spokesperson for the DfI would only say: “The next steps will entail the undertaking of a new survey and a design review before progression through the statutory procedures.”