North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey has welcomed confirmation that the Department of Regional Development to move another step close to the long awaited upgrade of the A26 by proceeding to the statutory consultation on the scheme. This comes after an adjournment debate tabled by Mr Storey was debated in the Assembly last year.
Commenting after the information was forwarded to the Assembly’s DRD Committee, Mr Storey said:
“The delivery of any new roads project is a lengthy and complex matter. There has been much discussion regarding the commencement of the A26 dual carriageway.
“Confirmation from the DRD that they now intend to move to consultation on the scheme is to be welcomed as it represents another step forward in what has been a very long drawn out process. It also means that the public will have an opportunity to be informed about the proposals through public exhibitions.
“I would, however, caution the Minister and his Department to take seriously the concerns that have been already raised by landowners along the stretch of the A26. While it is important to progress this much needed road, it should be as far as possible with co-operation with the local landowners.
“I have been concerned for some time and have expressed those concerns at various meetings with the Project team of the refusal to provide underpasses for local farmers.
“Funding for this project is also clearly a major issue and the Minister should clarify not just the funding issues but a timetable of how the scheme will move forward. We need to step up a gear and deliver this much needed addition to our road network in Northern Ireland.”