July 2009

Preferred Route

Stage 3 (Summer 2009 to Autumn 2010) - Assessment of the Preferred Route

During the Stage 3 process the Preferred Route will be developed in more detail to allow the detailed assessment of the proposed road and its effects on the environment. This includes mitigation works to reduce the various impacts and determines the overall landtake required for the project. This work leads in to the preparation of the Direction Order, Vesting Order and Environmental Statement.

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 the Ministerial Announcement, a series of Public Exhibitions were organised from July 27th to July 30th. Following the Exhibitions, the Minister 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.'"

During the Public Exhibitions, information was provided in the form of text and map displays. The project objectives, assessment process, scheme design progress and the programme going forward were presented together with a number of mapping displays, including high resolution aerial photography of the Preferred Route. The plans also highlighted the key constraints that influenced the choice of the Preferred Corridor, development of Route Options, and the Preferred Route. To assist the public to visualise the proposed Preferred Route, 3D fly-through models were displayed on plasma screens, to depict a realistic impression of the landscape and facilitate discussion about the issues involved with the Preferred Route. The flythrough models were also available for viewing in the designated areas for individual landowner consultations. Project brochures summarising key scheme developments were distributed and access to the project website was provided. This allowed the public to accurately locate property in relation to the Preferred Route.