A6 improvements will bring economic and road safety benefits to Northern Ireland
Monday 11 January 2016
The announcement that work will start this year on major improvements to the A6 between Belfast and Londonderry is good news for transport operators and will benefit the wider economy, according to the Freight Transport Association, which said that the upgrading of the route had been one of the association’s primary objectives for several years.
Transport Minister Michelle McIlveen announced on Sunday that work will start later this year, possibly as early as April, on dualling the section of the A6 between Randalstown and Castledawson, at a cost of £120-£140 million and with a build time of 24 months.
Seamus Leheny, FTA’s Policy & Membership Manager for Northern Ireland, said:
“We have lobbied for improvements to this route for a long time so we are delighted to see them finally happen. The A6 has been a constant source of frustration for our members in Northern Ireland due to the long delays many of them suffer when transporting goods on this road. An improved and more efficient A6 will not only reduce costs but will open up the north west region for investment, as the ability to get goods to market efficiently and cheaply is a key criteria in attracting such investment and growth.”
The improvements will also bring road safety benefits as most of the current A6 is single-carriageway, with HGVs over 7.5 tonnes restricted to a maximum speed of 40mph while cars are restricted to a maximum of 60mph. This not only leads to long tailbacks, but dangerous overtaking manoeuvres by some car drivers. The new dual carriageway will enable safer overtaking opportunities while goods vehicles can travel at a more efficient speed.
Seamus Leheny concluded:
“We will continue to lobby for further improvements to the A6, with particular emphasis on bringing forward plans for the development of a dual carriageway by-pass of Dungiven, which already suffers from heavy traffic and vehicle pollution.”
FTA Press Office