A bypass for the village of Moneymore would not be considered as high a priority as other strategic road projects, according to the Minister for Infrastructure Chris Hazzard.
In a reply to Mid Ulster SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone, Mr Hazzard stressed there is clearly a need to prioritise projects.
Mr McGlone asked the Minister what measures his department is planning to undertake in order to alleviate traffic congestion in the south Derry village.
Responding, Mr Hazzard said it was considered that traffic delays through the village are not excessive even during peak times and are of a similar nature to those experienced in many small and medium sized towns.
He continued: “The recently completed Magherafelt Bypass provides an important link and journey time savings for those travelling from Moneymore towards the A6 but it may have increased traffic flow through Moneymore.
“Traffic counts are currently being carried out to measure any change in traffic flows in Moneymore following the opening of Magherafelt Bypass.
“You will be interested to know that my department is also currently developing a balanced programme of strategic road improvement (SRI) schemes across the North.”
He added: “Given the financial constraints, there is clearly a need to prioritise projects and a bypass of Moneymore would not be considered as high a priority as other strategic roads projects across the north of Ireland.”
Mr McGlone said he was disappointed by the Minister’s response. “Despite acknowledging that the recently opened bypass at Magherafelt may have increased traffic flow through Moneymore, he does not consider the delays motorists are experiencing to be excessive,” he said. “Perhaps if he was travelling through the village on a regular basis he might have a different opinion.
“Local people and regular commuters who have to use the route do consider the delays to be excessive.”