Ballymena Councillors have united in welcoming news that the A26 dualling scheme is to go-ahead.
The ‘Frosses Road’ project will involve the provision of seven kilometres of dual carriageway between Glarryford and the A44 Drones Road (the Ballycastle Fork).
Just hours after the Executive’s decision to allocate around £8million to the work in 2014-2015 was announced last Monday, councillors were queueing up to have their say on the news at their monthly Community Planning Committee meeting in The Braid.
First to speak, Committee chair, Tommy Nicholl congratulated “all those who worked to make it happen”.
He said: “I am very pleased for this Council, for the past two years, has lobbied, month in, month out, to support this scheme.
“We have visited Minister Kennedy, Sammy Wilson when he was Finance Minister, we have written letters, made a clear business case and, at every turn, called for this scheme to go ahead.
“Let there be no doubt in this Council that we are one of the most effective lobbying machines in local government, having lobbied to make sure that Ballymena receives the infrastructure it requires.”
Cllr Maurice Mills, speaking as chair of Council’s Economic, Growth and Development Committee, said the Frosses Road project will “give impetus to the economic wellbeing of the Northern Corridor area from an industrial perspective” and “will mean less delays and increased safety on what can only be termed as ‘an accident blackspot’”.
Their remarks were echoed by fellow committee members, Cllrs James Henry, Monica Digney, Roy Gillespie, James Currie, Jayne Dunlop, Sam Hanna, Paul Frew and PJ McAvoy.
Ald. McAvoy said: “It has been a long battle to try and get this...it shows it pays to talk to Ministers.”
Cllr James Currie commented: “We are fortunate in a sense that the A5 scheme fell through. Every cloud has a silver lining!”
Ald. Sam Hanna, who resides along the route, said: “You just have to live on it to see the amount of traffic on this road. I’m very glad to see this.”
The next stage in the process will be the publication of the report into the 2012 Public Inquiry.