Work will start early next year on the first stage of a new dual carriageway that will include a section running from Aughnacloy to Omagh, a decade after the long-awaited upgrade was first sanctioned.
The Department for Infrastructure has given the go-ahead for construction to begin on the new A5 at a cost of £150 million.
When complete it is hoped the new road will cut journey times between Derry and the border at Aughnacloy by almost half hour, while also reducing accidents.
Local construction firms are hoping for an economic boost from the construction project.
While final hurdles to the work were cleared earlier this year, it was feared the absence of a Stormont executive would further delay the project.
The cost of the project has already hit over £70million – despite being stalled for nine years. Local residents have voiced ‘a significant number of objections’ to the scheme, challenges in many areas, including environmental and wildlife habitat concerns, the stopping of private access roads land vesting, and the direction of the road itself.
The first phase will now start at Newbuildings outside Derry and run to just north of Strabane. The “A5 Western Transport Corridor” aims to improve transport links between the north west and Dublin by providing a dual carriageway all the way past Strabane and Omagh to the Monaghan border at Aughnacloy.