A5 still facing at least six major hurdles

Cattle graze contently on pastures which will carry the new A5 motorway.  A water drill marker, where the new road will run through, is fences off in the foreground.
Cattle graze contently on pastures which will carry the new A5 motorway. A water drill marker, where the new road will run through, is fences off in the foreground.

The new A5 dual carriageway, scheduled to begin in 2017, may still be entangled in at least six different disputes.

It was revealed last week at the Assembly that the ambitious project, described as the North’s biggest ever road building scheme, may still face challenges in many areas, including environmental and wildlife habitat concerns, the stopping of private access roads land vesting, and the direction of the dual carriageway itself.

Roads Minister Michelle McIlveen said that consultations had to be carried out on a new environmental statement, as well as new draft statutory orders before work could commence on the first section, between Strabane and Newbuildings next year. “Further consultations will be required on the section between Ballygawley and the border at Aughnacloy if and when this section of the route is progressed”, added the minister. “Once the consultation period has concluded, a decision will be made on the need for a public inquiry on the scheme.”

As part of the public consultation, an exhbition will be held at the Smyth Memorial Hall, Ballygawley on Friday 5 March 2016.