THE Infrastructure Minister says that she is “considering her long term priorities” for strategic road improvement schemes, including the proposed Armagh link roads.
The two schemes have been long in the pipeline, which have the objective of improving road safety and relieving congestion in Armagh City Centre.
Just last year the preferred route for the proposed £20m East Link Road was confirmed, running from the junction of the Markethill Road and Ardmore Road, extending northwards to a proposed junction with the Portadown Road to the city side of Linsey’s Heights.
The proposed scheme also includes a 3m wide shared use footway/cycleway “which will help to make sustainable travel options more accessible for the local community,” according to the Department for Infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the Armagh North and West Link Road schemes aims to improve the A3 Portadown - Armagh - Monaghan Road, a link corridor in the Strategic Road Network, and to improve the environment in the historic city centre by providing a new link road around the north and west sides of the city of Armagh.
The issue was raised recently by Newry and Armagh Sinn Fein MLA, Cathal Boylan, who asked the Minister, Nichola Mallon, for an update on both roads. In response Ms Mallon said, “Whilst I am currently faced with serious and challenging budget constraints, I am committed to working to find solutions that deliver better for our communities and improve lives across Northern Ireland.
“In this respect, I recognise that many in the local community support the proposed Armagh East Link and Armagh North and West link schemes.
“My Department is currently developing proposals for a new Regional Strategic Transport Network Transport Plan which will set out the priorities for future development of the main road and rail network. In particular, I am considering my long term priorities for strategic road improvement schemes, including the Armagh schemes, and how they might facilitate complementary improvements to promote sustainable travel choices, connect people and communities and create thriving and liveable places.
“The Draft Regional Strategic Transport Network Transport Plan will be issued for public consultation.”