DESPITE the fact the Stormont is now back up and running, complete with funding promises for vital projects, it would appear the long awaited Enniskillen bypass is still a long way away.
It’s been over a decade since the major infrastructure project, which could transform Enniskillen’s notorious traffic troubles by linking the main Dublin and Sligo roads, was announced, but there has so far been no visible progress so far. In fact, former Infrastructure Minister Conor Murphy had previously promised a completion date for the project of March 2018.
The Department for Infrastructure received “very low numbers” of objections when in revealed the plans for the project in April 2018, and following a public consultation process it was approved to proceed. However, Infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon has now said it is “too early” to comment on when that will be.
“I recognise that many in the local community support the provision of the A4 Enniskillen Southern Bypass,” said Minister Mallon, in a letter to the local Council regarding the project. “Unfortunately while I am committed to working to find solutions that deliver better for our communities, improve lives across Northern Ireland and address regional imbalance, I have inherited severe and challenging budget constraints.
“I am currently assessing the pressures across my department, reflecting on my priorities, the commitments in the ‘New Deal: New Approach’ and the budget that will be made available for the period ahead. It is therefore too early to comment on the delivery of certain schemes, such as the Enniskillen Southern Bypass, at present.”
Councillors had requested Minister Mallon meet with them to discuss the bypass as well as about road maintenance contracts, however she declined the request stating “a meeting at this stage would not provide any new or additional information.”
In December past, prior to the restoration of the Stormont Assembly, permanent secretary Katrina Godfrey had written to the Council explaining the statutory consultation process for the bypass scheme had ended.
“The next stages are currently under consideration, talking account of the wider political and legislative context that applies, and of course, the available funding,” said Ms Godfrey.
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Posted: 1:09 pm April 2, 2020