Time for a road upgrade?

by Gillian McDade

COMMUTERS from the Cookstown and Magherafelt areas would see their journeys to work made easier if plans to upgrade a stretch of the A6 road near Randalstown are implemented.

The Stormont executive is being urged to redistribute money allocated for the stalled A5 project (Londonderry to Aughnacloy) to other road improvement schemes.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said upgrading a section of the A6 should get under way urgently.

This would ease enormously the lengthy journeys for people living in the Cookstown and Magherafelt areas who work in the Newtownabbey/East Antrim and Belfast areas. Delays are mainly caused by a build-up of traffic heading from the Derry direction and this extends from the Toome bypass up to the start of the M2. Motorists regularly face further delays travelling to Belfast, usually from Antrim onwards.

If Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy agrees to the upgrading of the eight-mile section of the A6 it would ease congestion and cut travelling time for the thousands of motorists who use the road.

MAIL readers have been leaving comments on our Facebook page, voicing their desires to see their journeys made easier with a road upgrade.

Stephen Catherwood travels from Magherafelt to Belfast daily and says he finds this section of the journey takes longer to complete than the motorway part. He says he feels an upgrade is long overdue.

Mark Bain from Castledawson agrees - he says it’s disgraceful that there is no dual carriageway running from the two main cities.

“It takes me longer to get to the motorway than it does to get from Randalstown to Belfast. On the way back you can almost guarantee traffic will grind to a halt half a mile from the end of the motorway as you head towards Toome,” he says.

Mark says upgrading the road between Randalstown and Toome must be a priority and the sooner the better for thousands of people who travel along that road every day.

“All it needs is for one lorry to break down and the queue can stretch for miles and that’s simply not good enough,” he added.