The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the news that a road scheme highlighted by FTA members as a key trade route in need of urgent upgrading will be included in the proposed road improvement budget for the next four years, but stressed that funds must also be allocated to other vital schemes.
The A8 between Belfast and Larne Port, which carries much of the freight traffic coming into and out of Northern Ireland every day, was identified by FTA’s Northern Ireland members as operating beyond its design capacity and being in urgent need of improvement to relieve daily congestion.
The recently published Department for Regional Development (DRD) consultation says that its budget proposals are designed to support the Northern Ireland economy and to develop and maintain sustainable transport networks, incorporating harbour and airport services.
FTA says that in these times of economic hardship and faced with a 40 per cent cut in spending, funds must be allocated where it is obvious that the economy will benefit and has stressed that the following schemes should also be given priority:
York Street Interchange at the Westlink (M2/A12/M3)
Access to ferry terminals and commercial properties in harbour areas
Sprucefield by-pass (A1/M1)
Randalstown to Castledawson (M22/A6)
Tom Wilson, FTA’s Head of Policy for Northern Ireland said:
"The efficiency of every single journey by a goods vehicle is of vital importance. The daily delivery of goods and services to shops and other outlets needs to be efficient, especially with the ever increasing cost of fuel. DRD and the Northern Ireland Executive must give priority to those schemes that will encourage inward investment and improve traffic flows."