Update report sought on bypass

The Minister of Infrastructure Nichola Mallon has been asked to provide an update on the progress of the Cookstown bypass.

DUP MLA Keith Buchanan and party colleagues Councillors Wesley Brown and Wilbert Buchanan recently met with Infrastructure officials including John Irvine, Director of Major Projects and Procurement in Cookstown.

Other matters on the agenda including a bypass for Moneymore and Park and Ride facilities within the Mid Ulster area.

Speaking after the meeting, Keith Buchanan said he welcomed news that the work on the design and development of the Cookstown bypass scheme is on-going.

He said consultants were currently reviewing the selection of preferred route of 2010 against modern standards and informed by updated traffic, environmental and landowner surveys.

“It is expected that this review will be completed by April/May of next year and this project will be in a queue for a decision from a Minister in approximately 18 months, underlining again the importance of an Executive being formed to enable this and other vital projects to move forward,” he explained.

Mr Buchanan said he now hoped to get a progress update on the bypass from the Minister.

Increasing traffic congestion in the town centre led to a call for a bypass more than 40 years ago, but movement only began in 2007 with the publication of the Sub-Regional Transport Plan for Cookstown when consultants were appointed.

The proposal is to link the Dungannon Road with the dual carriageway on the Moneymore Road. The 3.95km or 2.45 miles single carriageway has an estimated price tag of between £30-£40m.

Local politicians have been lobbying government to carry out the work for years.