Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 13:35 UK

New by-pass route is announced

Routes examined for the by-pass around Dungiven. (Ordinance Survey NI)
Routes examined for the by-pass around Dungiven. (Ordinance Survey NI)

The preferred route for a 30km by-pass around Dungiven in County Londonderry has been announced.

The dual carriageway will start on the A2 Clooney Road, running parallel to parts of the A6 and reconnects with the Glenshane Road east of Dungiven.

Work is expected to begin on the road in 2012 but it is not due to be completed until 2016.

Road Minister Conor Murphy said it was "a key milestone in the planning of this road scheme for the north-west".

Speaking in Dungiven, Mr Murphy said choosing the route had been a challenging process.

"I know how much this means for local people who I have met with with many times to hear at first-hand their desire to progress this major road development," he said.

"This is great news for the people living in the north west region."

Work can only begin on the by-pass after the public inquiry process, which is expected to begin in 2011.

Vincent Gallagher, who has lived on Dungiven Main Street for 40 years, said: "We have put up with this for far too long. It is 40 years since this started, so I think in anybody's language that's long enough."

Commuters between Londonderry and Belfast travel through Dungiven
Commuters between Londonderry and Belfast travel through Dungiven

Official figures show about 10,000 vehicles pass through the town every day.

It is the main route for motorists driving between Derry and Belfast.

Residents complained of the health effects of so many cars in the town and the subsequent pollution.

In 2005, former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain made an announcement about a dual carriageway scheme to Derry and this included a by-pass around Dungiven.

Mr Murphy said on Wednesday his department was pressing ahead with the scheme as quickly as possible.

"Tackling regional disparities and reversing decades of under investment west of the Bann is vital," he said.

"This investment is central to the executive's priorities for Derry and for the northwest, as a whole, in maximising and realising its full economic potential.

Public exhibitions to inform the public are being held at two venues:

The Dungiven Community Hall, 3 Chapel Road Dungiven on: Wednesday 6 May from 1300 BST to 21 00 BST and Thursday 7 May from 1300 BST to 2100 BST.

The YMCA, 51 Glenshane Road, Drumahoe on: Tuesday 12 May from 1300 BST to 2100 BST and Wednesday 13 May from 1300 to 2100 BST.

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