Supply-chain issues and global-market volatility are delaying the completion of a new road connecting Derry and Dungiven, Stormont’s Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has said.
The 15-mile dual carriageway is part of the A6 upgrade linking Derry and Belfast.
It had been due to be completed earlier this year.
DfI said it is “working closely with the contractor” to agree a completion date.
Speaking earlier this week, DUP East Derry MP Gregory Campbell criticised the “contentious delays” to the upgrade.
He was speaking after a weekend of disruption for many residents and businesses in Dungiven, as a main road through the town was closed to allow for resurfacing work.
“The minister [John O’Dowd] needs to get an edge on this and get this road completed,” Mr Campbell said.
The Department said it was anticipated the scheme “could be completed by Spring 2022”, but the Covid-19 pandemic “had a major impact” on its progress.
The DfI said various activities had been disrupted due to “social distancing requirements, staff absences and issues associated with the supply chain”.
“Ongoing global market volatility has also impacted the scheme delivery,” they said.
A spokesperson for the department said staff and contractors had continued to progress the strategically important project “despite the exceptional challenges”.
It was a weekend of disruption for many residents and businesses in Dungiven, as a main road through the town was closed to allow for resurfacing work.
It will be closed again by the Department for Infrastructure this coming weekend as well, for more resurfacing work to be carried out.
“There were problems last weekend because the road was closed at the Dungiven end, and that is going to be repeated this weekend,” Mr Campbell said.
“Then, at the other end of the road, at Drumahoe, the road will be closed the following weekend, so this is going to go on for the whole of September with still no end date in sight.
“At the moment, if you’re driving on that road, it is single-file traffic, a 40-mile-per-hour speed limit and no overtaking permitted – that is what we have for 17 miles for most of the road.”
Mr Campbell said motorists in the north west need answers.
“Everyone understands there may be problems. Everyone understands that at some point roads may need to be closed,” he said.
“But they need to explain clearly, in straightforward terms, to the travelling public in Dungiven, Drumahoe, Claudy and everywhere in between about what is happening.”
The department apologised for the disruption caused to road users and those living in the vicinity.
A spokesperson said the roadworks at Dungiven over two weekends were required to complete final surfacing at a new roundabout.
“We are working closely with the contractor to agree a date for completion of the scheme,” they said.Tags: