About the Project
The A5 Western Transport Corridor (A5WTC) is the longest single roads project ever undertaken in Northern Ireland. The new route is one of five key transport corridor upgrades identified in the Regional Transportation Strategy (RTS) for Northern Ireland and will improve safety and journey time, as well as business, trade and tourist routes.
The scheme also represents a significant link in longer-term plans to improve connections between Dublin, Londonderry and Donegal. The Irish Government have pledged a contribution of £400m to help fund major roads programmes in Northern Ireland, including the A5WTC.
In July 2009 Transport Minister Conor Murphy announced the Preferred Route for the scheme, marking the achievement of the second key milestone for the project agreed between the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government.
Following this, the Minister recently outlined how the project would be moving forward and explained the next important steps:
"Currently we are gathering information from the landowners on land use and livestock and machinery movements. Most landowners have been helpful in giving ground investigation contractors access to their land to carry out tests. This information will by key in helping the designers reduce landtake, mitigate the impacts on land owners, reduce the footprint of the dual carriageway and help assess the suitability of alternative alignments."
"Maintaining access to all areas of their land is essential. Minor realignments of the route are already being considered in response to the information being provided. Public consultation has been and will continue to be, an important part of the scheme developments and all suggestions and comments will continue to be fully considered."
The information gathered through future meetings with landowners will inform the development of the Preferred Route to the Emerging Specimen Design, which will be presented at Public Exhibitions in summer 2010. This will be followed by the publication of Draft Statutory Orders and an Environmental Statement in autumn 2010, with a Public Inquiry in 2011. There will also be a formal consultation process in advance of the Public Inquiry, during which all affected parties and others may make comments and lodge objections to the Draft Orders and Environmental Statement. These comments and objections will then be heard at the Public Inquiry in 2011. It is anticipated that work will commence in 2012 and be completed in 2015.