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A5/A6 Position Paper

The North West region seeks an integrated road network that connects our city and region with both Dublin and Belfast.  The Derry~Londonderry Unity of Purpose Grouping is increasingly concerned at the lack of progress in either the proposed A5 or A6 road schemes.

On 5th November 2013, the Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton, said “Importantly, the A6 preparatory work does not commit the Executive contractually to that project.  The Executive took the view that, until there is clarity on the A5 project, we can not afford to commit contractually to the A6 project, since delivering both in parallel is unaffordable without their being a serious detrimental impact on all other departmental capital budgets”

This appears to translate that the A6 road scheme is so expensive that DRD is not prepared to go ahead with it while there is still a chance that the A5 Scheme could resume, as there would not be enough funds to complete both at the same time.  Effectively we understand the A6 road scheme is dependent on the outcome of the A5.

This is a regrettable situation and has effectively stalled progress on all proposed strategic economic transport corridors in the NW region.  We are fully conversant and understand the legal challenges faced by the A5 Scheme and we understand that work is underway on the “appropriate assessment” required under the Habitats Directive  We also acknowledge that your department and the Executive remains committed to the A5 Scheme.  However, we are not clear that there is a firm timetable for progressing the scheme and it is our understanding that it may least two years before we know whether the A5 is technically able to proceed in its current form.  

We are seeking a workable and pragmatic resolution to the current impasse in order to effectively move both the A5 & A6 projects from planning into development.  Whilst the schemes are loosely called A5 and A6, within each scheme there are a number of phases:

A5  Derry to Strabane     14.3 km  £170M

A5  Omagh to Ballygawley  23.0 km  £160M

A6  Derry to Dungiven (inc bypass)  £390M

A6  Dungiven by Pass Only  £80M

A6  M22 to Castledawson  12. 2 km  £120M

We understand that all of the above schemes are at various stages of development and we also acknowledge that all of the above phases are unlikely to progress simultaneously.  However, we would ask that the Minister consider all of the 5 schemes as part of a matrix and whenever money is available, to proceed with the scheme that is “most” ready. At the moment, none of the above are “shovel ready”. However a number of the above require further financial interventions to progress to the next developmental level.

To halt the progress on all phases of the above schemes for the foreseeable future is  jeopardising the economic development of NW region and does not contribute to the economic integration of Northern Ireland.

We would like to meet and discuss the NW Transport Corridor “Matrix Solution”.