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06 Oct 2022

County Derry road may not fully open to traffic for months

DfI has blamed 'ongoing global market volatility' for the delay.

County Derry road may not fully open to traffic for months

The A6 pictured here on Friday may not be fully open to traffic for several months.

It could be months before the new A6 dual carriageway and bypass of Dungiven fully opens to traffic, it has emerged.

Work to dual the A6 between Drumahoe and Dungiven, including a bypass of the north Derry town, first began in September 2018 and was scheduled to be completed earlier this year.

However, the Department for Infrastructure has now blamed the Covid-19 pandemic and 'ongoing global market volatility' for the delay in the delivery of the scheme.

The offline section between Dungiven and Claudy had been opened to traffic with one lane each way however it closed last month to allow final works to be completed.

At the weekend, the A6 was closed at Drumahoe to facilitate ongoing work. Traffic bound for Derry and Belfast was diverted via Eglinton before the road opened again to traffic yesterday morning (Monday).

The two weekends prior to this saw the busy road close at Dungiven with all traffic diverted via Maghera, Coleraine and Limavady.

One frustrated motorist, who travels on the road on a daily basis says work on the scheme appears to have slowed down in recent months.

“I know work still has to be completed on the road before it can be opened however I can't understand how this work can be finished because I rarely see any workers on the road,” said the man, who preferred not to be named.

“As someone who travels on this road every single day, it is getting very frustrating as my journey takes almost twice as long as it should.

“I do understand that projects of this scale won't always run to plan but I just don't understand how any progress can be made when there are clearly no workers on the road.”

Last night, an employee of Wills Bros, one of the main contractors responsible for the scheme, refuted claims that work has come to a standstill.

He told the County Derry Post that work is still ongoing to install crash barriers and complete verge work.

“There is a fair bit of activity going on on the road,” claimed the worker.

A spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure said they hope the road will be opened in 'the coming months'. 

“While it had originally been anticipated the scheme could be completed by Spring 2022, the Covid-19 pandemic had a major impact on the delivery of the scheme with various activities having been disrupted due to social distancing requirements, staff absences and issues associated with the supply chain,” said the spokesperson.

“Ongoing global market volatility has also impacted the scheme delivery.  

“The Department is continuing to work closely with the contractor with the aim of having this work completed as quickly as practicable so that the road can be opened in the coming months.”

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