COUNCILLORS in Ballymoney are to ask the Government why it is that the A26 improvement scheme is yet again at the “bottom of the pile.”
News that the reallocation of funding originally set aside for the temporarily abandoned A5 scheme will not be used for dualling “one of the most dangerous roads in Northern Ireland” has infuriated councillors who are demanding an explanation from Roads minister, Danny Kennedy.
Phrases such as “fobbed off again”, “way down the pecking order” and “bottom of the pile” were used when it was learned that preference has been given to a by-pass around Magherafelt.
The debate began when correspondence was received from MP, Ian Paisley Junior, who was told that the Government was currently advancing a scheme for a section of the A26 between Glarryford and the A44 Drones Road.
Mr Kennedy indicated that he would be in a position to issue a Departmental statement pointing the way forward later this year.
However, at last week’s monthly meeting of the council, members learned that earlier in the day any surplus funding following the A5 being put on the long finger, had been directed elsewhere.
Alderman Bill Kennedy urged the council to lobby the various Departments in Government for the dualling of the A26 which he described as one of the most dangerous roads in Northern Ireland as well as the busiest.
North Antrim MLA, Meryn Storey, said: “I am extremely disappointed today at the June monitoring round where reduced requirements from Departments made to the Assembly have been reallocated.
“I have no issue with those who have lobbied on behalf of Magherafelt which will benefit from the outcome of the A5 court case.
“This council has the right to ask the minister to prioritise this project.