The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is delighted with this morning’s ministerial announcement that funding will be made available to upgrade key infrastructure projects in Northern Ireland, including £105m on the A8 from Larne to Belfast. The leading trade body has been a long time and vocal supporter of dualling this heavily trafficked, 14 kilometre stretch of single carriageway, to make safer and slicker one of Northern Ireland’s most vital trade routes.
Tom Wilson, FTA’s Head of Policy for Northern Ireland, said:
"The A8 is a strategically significant trade route, but one which has lacked capacity to cope with the sheer volume of lorries that rely on this route to reach Larne Port. It is an absolutely essential link in our supply chain between businesses on the island of Ireland and large freight hubs in northern England and Scotland. This funding will go a long way to improve Ireland’s connectivity and finally make the A8 fit for purpose."
The A8 has been the unfortunate setting for many fatal road traffic accidents owing to the lack of safe overtaking opportunities along it. Wilson continued:
"Typically, slower-moving agricultural vehicles do cause long tailbacks on this road and motorists do take risks when overtaking tractors, combine harvesters and the like. Dualling will reduce instances of risky overtaking."
Today’s announcement by Sammy Wilson, Minister for Finance, will also see £330m spent on upgrading the A5, which links the north west of Northern Ireland to Eire.
"Investment in infrastructure brings with it great returns on investment, and the Northern Ireland Assembly’s decision to focus most of its spend on two vital trade corridors will pay dividends. Better roads and infrastructure will not only encourage investment from overseas and overall connectivity, but mean lower fuel costs and more reliable journey times, giving hauliers, local businesses and motorists alike a welcome boost."