New commitment to struggling A5 upgrade program provided by Acting Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd

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Acting Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd reiterated his commitment to advancing the long-awaited A5 road project.

he Sinn Fein Minister made the comments following a meeting on the scheme with other local MPs.

Mr O’Dowd said he was “committed to doing everything I can to move this important landmark project forward”.

“This road needs to be upgraded, first and foremost to improve road safety, but also as a strategically important route that will contribute to economic growth and improve connectivity across the island.

“It is vital that the A5 project moves forward without further delay.”

The A5 upgrade would see the road from Londonderry to the border at Aughnacloy turned into a dual carriageway and is estimated to cost around £1.2billion. Stormont’s Department of Infrastructure (DfI) said early work on the project could start in 2023.

The project would be the largest single highway project in NI history.

A public consultation related to the environmental impact of the road ended last month and a further public inquiry into the project is expected to take place later this year.

Plans to upgrade the road were first presented in 2007, but progress has been stalled by public inquiries and lawsuits.

Since 2006, £84 million has been spent on the project and a total of 42 lives have been lost on the A5.

In January, calls for the program to move up intensified following the deaths of Nathan Corrigan, Peter Finnegan and Petey McNamee.

Last December Aaron Harkin died following a collision between two vehicles outside Strabane on the A5.

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