Mayor lobbies minister over A26

Ballymoney mayor, councillor Ian Stevenson, has welcomed the opportunity to lobby minister for Regional Development Danny Kennedy regarding the A26 during his recent visit to Ballymoney.

The minister has already been strongly lobbied regarding this matter and indeed others who met him on Wednesday 1 February, after Mayor Stevenson, also raised the issue with him.

“I believe that it is important to keep this issue a priority and to keep the minister’s mind focused on the matter. There are several competing areas looking for work to be done in their areas, should money become available, but outside of the proposed A5 scheme, none I believe as essential or perhaps, as long fought for, as for the dualling of the A26, and at this point to the Ballycastle turn off.

“It is not only essential due to the high volume of traffic, but also to help aid tourism and the local economy by improving access to the area.

“With so many high-profile events including this year’s Irish open, the North West 200, the Milk Cup, the Olympic Torch coming to Dervock and Portrush (with associated festivities) along with many others, it is important for tourists to see that we have the infrastructure which encourages people to come to see the beauty of the area, including to the Giants Causeway with its new Visitors Centre.

“It also helps in the aim of linking Belfast and Londonderry through a Northwest corridor which leads people through large centres of population.

“These points were raised on the day of minister Danny Kennedy’s visit and it is a key focus of mine, during my year in office to work with neighbouring councils to help move things forward, after so many years of lobbying and stalling. I will endeavour, during my year in office and after, to do my best to see this long awaited project brought to fruition,” the mayor concluded.

Minister Kennedy was in town to launch a £1.3m investment project that will benefit cyclists, pedestrians and rail users.

A new traffic-free bridge at Ballymoney Train Station will provide a safe link between the north and south of the town, avoiding busy roads.