Public inquiry to be held on new A5 road

Omagh sign Conor Murphy said the public inquiry into the new A5 road was likely to start in May

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Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy has announced that a public inquiry will be held into the new A5 road between Londonderry and Aughnacloy.

There were more than 2,000 objections to the project during the consultation period.

Mr Murphy said the inquiry would be held at "a number of locations along the route".

He said it was likely to start in May.

"As expected there has been considerable interest in the proposed A5 dualling project and it is important that public inquiries are held to discuss and debate the issues of contention associated with the published Draft Orders and Environmental Statement," Mr Murphy said.

"Projects of this scale will usually result in the holding of a public inquiry but, because of the length of the project and the extent of the interest, it has been decided that the A5 public inquiry will be held at a number of locations along the route.

"I welcome the interest in the project and hope that many of the matters of concern can be addressed either before or at the public inquiry which is likely to commence in May 2011."

The A5 project extends from New Buildings on the outskirts of Derry to the border with the Irish Republic at Aughnacloy.

Duplicated

The Department for Regional Development said that at a length of 85 km, it was the largest road scheme ever undertaken in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this month, the BBC learned that hundreds of signatures objecting to the new A5 road had been duplicated.

It is also understood that scores of people had complained that they did not send objecting letters to Roads Service received in their name.

The Department for Regional Development said "the extent of duplication is difficult to define".

Thirty letters supporting the road had also been received.

The Roads Service said they were "content that the majority of the objections received are genuine".

"The way forward is not affected as, in general, the issues raised have been raised across a range of objections received," a Roads Service spokesperson said.

It said Roads Service would "treat all correspondence received as a genuine letter unless advised otherwise".

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