MORE than £6m has been allocated to the much-delayed A5 dual carriageway scheme for the next financial year, Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon, has announced.
The £6.2m sum comes as part of a larger £77.8m that has been committed by the Department for Infrastructure to a host of flagship projects across the North deemed crucial for better connecting communities and addressing decades of regional imbalance.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that a massive £83.4 million had been spent on the A5 road scheme since it was first proposed 14 years ago. This figure included £52 million in fees for consultants and provoked widespread concern.
But in correspondence discussed at a meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council last week, Ms Mallon said that the money already spent was not considered “disproportionate”.
“As is the case with all projects of such magnitude, significant costs need to be incurred before any work can commence on the ground,” she said.
“This typically includes scheme planning, design and development work which must be carried out by specialist consultants and in the case of the A5 there have been considerable additional costs associated with this stage of the scheme due to the need to hold further public inquiries and defend a number of legal challenges.
“Consultants’ fees on the A5 amount to almost £52.5 million of the total. Given the overall scale and complexity of the project and the challenges it has faced, the overall costs incurred are not considered disproportionate.”
Her comments came as the Irish Government said it had re-committed to the allocation of £75 million to the project over the next three years.
The Office for the Taoiseach wrote to the Council saying that they would also be working with the Stormont Executive on progressing key infrastructure projects, including the A5.