The Department for Infrastructure has published a prioritised list of major road schemes that will continue to be progressed – neither of Armagh’s much discussed link roads have made the cut!
The Department says prioritising the development and delivery of major road schemes has been necessary because “of the Department’s challenging budgetary position, along with constrained resources and commitments under the Climate Change (NI) Act 2022”.
This combination of factors, they say, “has changed the landscape considerably, meaning delivery of the major roads programme as previously set out is no longer sustainable nor appropriate”.
In 2019, the Department confirmed that the East Link was the preferred route.
This route encompasses a new link road on the east side of the city of Armagh, connecting the A3 Portadown Road and the A28 Markethill Road with the objective of improving road safety and relieving congestion in Armagh city centre.
However, despite struggles to progress any meaningful work, it now looks further away than ever.
Instead, the list of roads to be prioritised includes the closing out of projects that have been recently constructed as well as the continued development of schemes that have been identified as Executive Flagship projects and those included within City and Growth Deals.
The only road on the list in Co Armagh is the Newry Southern Relief Road scheme.
Other road schemes to be prioritised include:
A6 Derry / Dungiven Phase 1
A5 Western Transport Corridor
A6 Derry / Dungiven Phase 2
Belfast Rapid Transit 2
Lagan Pedestrian & Cycle Bridge
A4 Enniskillen Southern Bypass
A29 Cookstown Bypass
Work will also continue on the A1 Junctions Phase 2 scheme, to finalise the Business Case and complete the preparation of the contract documents. In addition, current work streams will also be completed on York Street Interchange and A32 Cornamuck schemes.
All other schemes will be paused and their place on a future major works programme will be informed by the Department’s emerging transport plans and any decision by a future Infrastructure Minister.