£600k for Cookstown by-pass

Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy has welcomed news of funding for a Cookstown by-pass
Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy has welcomed news of funding for a Cookstown by-pass

£600k has been set aside for a new by-pass for Cookstown after calls for urgent action on rush-hour traffic in the town.

Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy told the Mail that Chris Hazzard, Minister for Infrastructure, has secured additional funding that has allowed him to move forward with preparatory works for a by-pass around the town.

The news comes just weeks after the Magherafelt by-pass was completed four weeks early - easing traffic congestion in that town.

It is understood Minister Hazzard said up to £200,000 is available this year, 2016/17 with a further £400,000 being set aside the following year for the project in the 'neglected' west.

Molloy has praised the move.

He said: "This project has been delayed for some time and although a preferred route was selected several years ago no progress has been made since then. This news from the minister is very welcome and follows on from our meeting with him over the summer when we pressed the need for action on the Cookstown scheme.

"The minister has indicated his willingness to look at areas in the west that suffered from a lack of investment and make progress on what are smaller scale projects but would have a bigger impact on traffic through congested town centres.

"The completion of the Magherafelt scheme is an example of how a project can move forward once the commitment is given and we believe that Cookstown can progress quickly.

“There will have been many changes since the previous stage of work was carried out so it is essential that for the project to progress we have the details and statistics carried out enabling the actual work to proceed when ready.

"The commitment from the Minister to address the infrastructural neglect in the west is to be commended and it highlights the fact that to be able to make progress on projects such as this you need to be in Executive, making the case and making the decisions."