A2 Widening Gets the Green Light.
14 February 2012
Carrickfergus Borough Council has welcomed news that the widening of the A2 at Greenisland is set to go ahead.
Today, Mayor of Carrickfergus, Alderman Jim McClurg commented:
"On behalf of Carrickfergus Borough Council, we are thrilled that Minister Sammy Wilson has today announced that the widening of the A2 is to go ahead as part of the Executive’s capital investment programme with a commitment of £57 million. I, along with my colleagues, have campaigned long and hard for this scheme which will make a dramatic improvement to the quality of resident’s lives by significantly shortening commuting time and easing congestion on the renowned stretch of road between Sea Park and the University of Ulster at Jordanstown.
This will also importantly improve the safety of all who use the road on a regular basis and as a result of improved transportation links, I would hope that this project will act as an economic driver attracting inward investment and greater numbers of visitors to the Borough. We are grateful to the Executive and in particular both Ministers Danny Kennedy and Sammy Wilson, also our local MP, for their support in making this a reality. I am further delighted for our local residents and businesses alike and would like to thank everyone that signed our online petition lobbying for the scheme and hope that work will commence sooner rather than later."
In a statement today the Department for Regional Development confirmed:
Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy has secured almost £500million investment in road infrastructure, balanced across Northern Ireland, with the potential to create an estimated 2,500 jobs over four years.
The revised budget means that over the next four years Roads Service can bring forward significant elements of the A5 dual carriageway project, between Londonderry and Strabane, and Omagh and Ballygawley, along with the A8 Belfast to Larne project and a scheme to dual the A2 Shore Road at Greenisland.
The Minister said: “Following a series of meetings with Executive colleagues and work by Departmental officials, I have reviewed spending priorities across my Department and I am now in a position to bring forward a balanced programme of improvements to our strategic road network over the next four years, that will make a significant difference to the people of Northern Ireland.
“This investment will provide a significant boost to the local economy and help to encourage inward investment. It will provide job security for many and create, much needed, jobs in the construction industry, across environmental and engineering consultancies, suppliers, contractors, infrastructure specialists and others. It will also offer opportunities for the long-term unemployed, apprentices and students.
“In the longer term it will serve as a catalyst for wider economic growth. If we want Northern Ireland to prosper we have to construct the infrastructure to enable us to compete effectively.”
The A5 and A8 are two of five key transport corridors indentified in the Regional Development Strategy for Northern Ireland. These improvements will dual key transport corridors; improving road safety and reduce journey times.
The A5 and A8 dual carriageway schemes have been taken forward as a result of an agreement between the Executive and the Irish Government. The Irish Government’s decision to defer further funding for these schemes, with a commitment to provide £25million per annum in 2015 and 2016, has required a re-evaluation of the roads programme in the current Budget period. Development of the A5 beyond this period is being considered through the structures of the North South Ministerial Council.
The Minister said: “The improvements to the A8, between Ballyclare and Larne, will complete a minimum of dual carriageway standard on the Eastern Seaboard corridor, reducing journey times, improving safety and supporting the continued development of the Port of Larne, Northern Ireland's second largest port. The A5 project will improve links in the West and with the Belfast metropolitan area, providing more reliable and reduced journey times with improved safety.
“The A2 project will widen 2.4km of the single carriageway, between Jordanstown and Seapark, and improve safety for pedestrians with the provision of new footpaths. Identified in the Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan, the new dual carriageway will alleviate congestion for the 35,000 motorists who travel between East Antrim and Belfast every day.”
Danny Kennedy added: “Subject to the outcome of the public inquiries that were held last summer, construction work may begin on the A8 as early as this spring, with the A5 works starting in early autumn. A procurement competition will be initiated for the A2 Shore Road project, which should see work commencing early in 2013.
“Development work is also continuing on a range of other major projects including A26 Glarryford, A6 Randalstown to Castledawson, A6 Londonderry to Dungiven, the York Street Interchange, A24 Ballynahinch Bypass as well as other non-strategic schemes such as Millennium Way in Lurgan. Delivery of these projects will be determined by the Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland 2011-21, which is currently published for consultation.”