Posted online: Sep 20th, 2010
The £36 million Magherafelt Bypass scheme has moved a step closer to getting underway.
Transport Minister, Conor Murphy, last week revealed he has instructed officials to make the necessary statutory orders for the scheme.
He said: “Having considered the Inspector’s Report into the Public Inquiry held in April/May of last year, and all the representations made, I have tasked Roads Service with progressing the Direction Order for the scheme, taking into account the Inspector’s conclusions and recommendations.
“This step will confirm the line of the new road in legislation,” he explained.
The Minister (pictured) added: “This is a significant milestone on this major project which, when delivered will result in a more efficient, safe, attractive and reliable route for north-south traffic on the west side of Lough Neagh, whilst providing considerable relief to traffic congestion in Magherafelt town centre.”
However, he cautioned on the cost of the new road scheme and said that the timing of the making of the vesting order, whereby the lands required for construction of the new road are acquired by the Department, and construction of the works, “will be dependent on the normal budgetary process”.
The proposed bypass is 5.9 kilometres in length and will be a combination of ‘two-plus-one’ and wide single all-purpose carriageway.
It will take a route to the east of the town, commencing at the existing A31 Moneymore Road at its junction with the Coolshinney Road to the south, and linking to the A6 at the existing Castledawson Roundabout to the north.
The proposal includes the provision of three new roundabouts where it meets with the Moneymore, Ballyronan and Aughrim Roads.
Mid-Ulster DUP Assembly MLA and DRD committee member, Ian McCrea, gave the the by-pass announcement a cautious welcome.
He said: “I welcome the announcement today that the Minister has decided to go ahead with the statutory direction order for the £36million A31 Magherafelt Bypass.
Whilst I accept that the go ahead has been given with the condition that the scheme will be funding dependant however I feel there are still a number of outstanding issues which must be addressed before works can commence.
“This Bypass is long over due and will have a vast impact on easing traffic congestion in Magherafelt, but having met and spoken with numerous constituents who have real concerns over farm land being divided and their lively hoods being detrimentally affected. I believe that these issues need to be addressed before any vesting order could commence which must include the agreement of the necessary accommodation works with the land owners and the department.
“It is my intention to meet with Departmental Officials to discuss these concerns and attempt to rectify and ease the concerns of my constituents.”