MAGHERAFELT council chairman Paul McLean has said more than £4m spent on development costs for the proposed carriageway linking the M2 with the Castledawson roundabout should have gone towards the Magherafelt bypass.
Councillor McLean told the MAIL yesterday that for over 40 years the townspeople, business owners and political representatives in Magherafelt have been “crying out” for a bypass.
“The money should have been spent on progressing the Magherafelt roadway as the town badly needs it,” he said.
“Over the years elected representatives have been repeatedly told by Roads Service that there is no money for the bypass.
“Yet we learn of this £4m going towards environment impact reports, vesting orders and route design for the Randalstown to Castledawson roundabout and yet no date had been set for it to start.
“I believe the money would have been better spent on the Magherafelt bypass as its completion would have benefits for the wider Mid-Ulster area.”
The Randalstown to Castledawson roundabout carriageway, aimed at shortening the journey time between Belfast and Londonderry, is estimated to cost £115m.
It is one of a number of major road and capital projects announced in a ten-year investment strategy back in 2008.
However, the plans had to be shelved when Stormont Ministers were forced to tighten their belts in the wake of the economic downturn.
At the start of the year, a delegation from Magherafelt Council and the local Chamber of Commerce lobbied Transport Minister Danny Kennedy about the bypass.
Councillors demanded the £36m scheme – scheduled for completion between 2013/2018 – be given priority.