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A5 funding allocation reduced amid project delays

The SDLP's Daniel McCrossan expressed fears that political deadlock at Stormont has "left the scheme in jeopardy long term"
Brendan Hughes

THE stalled A5 upgrade has had its planned funding allocation reduced for this year amid continued delays to the project a decade on from its launch.

Stormont had proposed setting aside £40m during the 2017-18 financial year, but the figure has been cut to £10m.

The 55-mile A5 connects Derry with the border at Aughnacloy in Co Tyrone, forming part of a cross-border link between Donegal, Derry and Dublin.

Stormont executive efforts to upgrade the road were first agreed back in 2007 but have suffered years of setbacks.

The project has since been split into several phases, with work on the Newbuildings to Strabane stretch due to start by the end of the year.

The reduced funding allocation was confirmed by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) in a letter to SDLP West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan.

He expressed fears that the lack of an executive amid political deadlock at Stormont has "left the scheme in jeopardy long term".

"This is the most important infrastructure scheme on this island and it is being put at risk," he said.

In his letter, DfI permanent secretary Peter May said officials have been liaising with the finance department "to ensure that the anticipated scheme expenditure profile aligns with the associated budget allocation".

He added that the department "continues to strive to expedite delivery of this strategically important project in line with the Fresh Start agreement".

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