Northern Ireland Focus: On the crest of a wave of change

 

The UK Government is expected to allocate £200m a year over the next two years to infrastructure development in Northern Ireland, following the Conservative Government's deal with the DUP.

Within Northern Ireland, devolution is at a precarious early stage. Unlike anywhere else in the UK, central government has complete control over the highways network. Works are planned and delivered through the Department for Infrastructure (DfI).

In recent years there has been strong investment in Northern Ireland’s network. The new £55m A26 Frosses dual-carriageway from Glarryford to A44 Drones opened in June. The 8 km road, which is used by 18,000 motorists daily, includes a new roundabout at the Drones Road and three flyover junctions.

Construction works recently commenced on the £160m A6 Randalstown to Castledawson dualling scheme. The DfI claims the ongoing work along the strategic corridor - between Belfast, Derry and the wider North West - will bring £2.30 of benefit to the local economy for every £1 of capital investment.

There have also been improvements in road safety in the last decade. Notably, Average Speed Enforcement Camera Systems (SPECS) have been installed on the A1 and A2.

Transport Network was told by the DfI that ‘there are no plans to hand over power to councils’; however the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA) is working on building bridges between the two levels of government in the hope that councils can share some of the balance of power.

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