‘Significant objections’ to A5 revealed

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.

Local residents have voiced ‘a significant number of objections’ to the new A5 dual carriageway scheme, prompting a new public inquiry scheduled for this autumn.

The Roads Department made the decision after gauging public support for the scheme, which has been described as the largest and most ambitious for the North.

The cost of the project has hit over £70million – despite being stalled for nine years.

Public exhibitions were held over a four day period between 1 and 4 March, at the Smyth Memorial Hall in Ballygawley, the Everglades Hotel, Derry; the Fir Trees Hotel, Strabane and the Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh.

The project, scheduled to begin in 2017, still faces 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. Speaking after the public exhibitions, Roads Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “As a significant number of objections are anticipated a public inquiry has been tentatively programmed for autumn 2016 and is expected to be administered by the Planning Appeals Commission.”