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Work to start in early 2018 on long-awaited A5 Derry to Dublin route

There will be enormous relief that, a full decade after the scheme was first approved, work is finally to start early next year on the first phase of the new A5 Derry-Aughnacloy dual carriageway.

A series of legal challenges over the route had to be addressed, and there were fears that the absence of a Stormont executive could cause further delays, but an announcement yesterday confirmed that the construction of the Derry to Strabane section will commence within a matter of months.

Further extensions will bypass Newtownstewart, Omagh, Ballygawley before the upgraded road, which has been financially backed by the authorities on both sides of the border, is eventually completed south of Aughnacloy.

It will reduce journey times and increase the safety of motorists as well as providing a major economic boost for the entire north-west region, including Co Donegal.

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Leading article