Civic and political leaders in Derry have welcomed the announcement that work on the delayed A6 dual carriageway project, which is considered vital for the economic development of the North West, is finally set to get underway.
The Department for Infrastructure announced on Tuesday that work on the road scheme will proceed within days.
Sinead McLaughlin, Chief Executive of the local Chamber of Commerce said: “The road between Derry and Belfast is one of the most strategically important routes anywhere in Northern Ireland and it should have been upgraded many years ago – indeed, plans for the road to be motorway standard have been around since the 1960s.
“Officials and the previous minister Chris Hazzard deserve praise for bringing the scheme forward so that we can look forward at last to a faster road connection between Northern Ireland’s two major cities. Chamber vice president and Airporter managing director Jennifer McKeever added: “Many businesses in the North West depend on good road connections, particularly to Belfast and the east. An improved A6 is absolutely essential for Airporter and many other local companies. We look forward to being able to use the upgraded road and, as a result, to offer even better services to our customers.”
Sinn Féin MLA Elisha McCallion said: “The A6 upgrade represents an investment of over £160m and has long been a key priority for Sinn Féin.
“It is a key infrastructural project to help redress regional imbalance which was significantly progressed when given the green light by then Sinn Féin Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard.
“Today’s announcement is an endorsement of the former Minister’s focus on developing the North West’s infrastructure. The way is now clear for this essential project to finally be delivered.
“When the project is completed in 2019, it will greatly reduce travel times between Derry and Belfast, a development which will be greatly welcomed by the many thousands who use this road daily.
“It will also add to the attractiveness of the North West as a location for inward investment and job creation.”