AN ULSTER Unionist MLA is appalled that DUP man Ian McCrea has urged Stormont to save cash by scrapping the A6 Toome - Castledawson dualling.
Sandra Overend said she was shocked to hear Ian McCrea’s comments in the NI Assembly telling DRD minister Danny Kennedy not to go ahead with the multi-million pound project.
“I was completely shocked yesterday when I heard DUP Assembly Member for my own constituency asking to Minister not to support the A6 Dualling.’
“The Toome area has long been a bottleneck and adds to problems of traffic and air pollution. There is little doubt that this scheme would ease the current congestion problems north of Magherafelt and bring benefit to commuters and the wider community. While the plans for the feeder roads in the surrounding area require further consideration, and is currently going into a Public Inquiry, I am certain that the need for the dualling of this part of the A6 should be supported.”
“I have been speaking with residents of the Castledawson area regarding the dualling scheme and while there are many concerns about how the feeder roads link to the dual-carriageway the majority of people recognise the need for it. Unlike my colleague, Ian McCrea MLA, the residents do not consider this scheme to be a ‘waste’ of resources.
“I have received assurances from the DRD Minister of his support for a by-pass of Magherafelt which I believe should be built concurrently with the dualling of the A6 however, I understand that the funding is not available for this scheme but progress on the A6 is essential no matter how slowly.
“I am appalled that my fellow Mid-Ulster MLA should place himself in opposition to a scheme which would bring extensive benefit to the Mid-Ulster constituency and I will continue to urge the Minister of Regional Development to continue to oversee the further development of the roads infrastructure in Mid-Ulster.”
Mr McCrea told the Assembly: “The Minister referred to the reprofiling of some roads, and, although I understand that his Department has to look at that for the different areas, from a constituency perspective I am happy for him to save money and not waste it on the dualling of the Randalstown to Castledawson road. I ask him to reconsider whether that is a necessary option for that community.”
Mr Kennedy replied: “I thank the Member for welcoming the announcement. Obviously, all politics is local. He raised an issue of concern in his constituency, and I have had recent meetings with other elected representatives on the same basis. We will, hopefully, bring forward our views on that in the coming months.”