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Chamber welcomes progress on key transport routes

The Londonderry Chamber of Commerce has strongly welcomed the commitment by infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard to fast delivery of Derry’s key road connections to Belfast and Dublin.

Chamber President Gavin Killeen said: “Improved road links to Belfast and to Dublin are essential to the economy of the North West, which is why these have been key demands of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce for several years.  So we warmly welcome the announcement by infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard that both road upgrades will be undertaken and completed as a matter of urgency.

“Faster road connections will provide many benefits for businesses in and around Derry.  They will improve business productivity.  They will extend the region’s travel to work area and reduce commuting times.  They will extend the geographical reach of many of our businesses.  In addition, the construction phase will itself create local jobs.  In fact, it is a win, win, win and win again for our region.

“Having said that, improved connectivity from better roads will be hit if the UK votes to leave the EU, with the result that a hard border is imposed that creates new physical barriers to doing business across the north west.”

 Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard said: “Improving transport connections is vital. The Executive has already made clear that flagship projects including the A5 and A6 are key to building connectivity and unlocking economic potential. 

“Today I want to assure you that I am committed to deliver on these hugely significant projects that will finally address the historical infrastructure deficit west of the Bann.

“The A6 route between Derry and Belfast connects our two biggest cities. This is a vital link in making the north an attractive place for those choosing to live, visit, work or invest.  I am determined to drive this project forward and complete the scheme to Drumahoe in this mandate, so we can maximise our offering and develop the economic potential across the region.” 

“Construction of the first phase of the A5 Western Transport Corridor, from Newbuildings to north of Strabane, is due to begin in 2017 subject to the successful  completion of the statutory procedures. However, I am currently looking at how funding could be increased to expedite delivery of the A5 scheme.”