FTA delighted with dualling of A8 Wed Aug 05 12:21:00 BST 2009

"FTA members have been keen to see this strategically important transport link increase in capacity to cope with the sheer volume of lorries that simply have no other option but to use this route in order to reach Larne Port. The A8 is an essential link connecting businesses in Ireland to large freight hubs in northern England and Scotland"

Tom Wilson, FTA’s Head of Policy for Northern Ireland

Leading trade body the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is delighted with today’s confirmation that a substantial section of the A8 in Northern Ireland will be increased from single to dual carriageway capacity, improving road safety, delivery times and overall infrastructure.

The £113m road dualling project will run between Ballyclare and Larne in Co Antrim, bringing benefits to local business dependent on a reliable and efficient supply chain.

FTA has long-since lobbied for dualling of the heavily trafficked A8. Tom Wilson, FTA’s Head of Policy for Northern Ireland, said:

“FTA members have been keen to see this strategically important transport link increase in capacity to cope with the sheer volume of lorries that simply have no other option but to use this route in order to reach Larne Port. The A8 is an essential link connecting businesses in Ireland to large freight hubs in northern England and Scotland.

“The level of traffic on this 14km stretch is notoriously heavy and dualling will not only reduce congestion but the knock-on effects of lower fuel costs and more reliable journey times will give hauliers, local businesses and also motorists a welcome respite in these economically uncertain times.”

The A8 has been the unfortunate setting for many fatal road traffic accidents owing to the paucity of safe overtaking opportunities it presents.

Wilson continued:

“The slow-moving agricultural vehicles so common on this road often cause large tailbacks. Two lanes will certainly go some way to reducing the risk of overtaking the likes of tractors and combine harvesters.”

Local businesses will benefit directly from more predictable journey and delivery times, but they will also see some significant longer-term benefits too.

Wilson continued:

“Good infrastructure is key if we want to realise our aspirations and encourage investment from overseas. This development will allay concerns about getting stock into the warehouses and staff into work in the first instance.”

The large verges that characterise the A8 should negate a substantial amount of the associated costs of acquiring the land needed to double lane capacity.

Wilson concluded:

“We have been told that it will be Spring 2011 before the statutory, environmental orders are available, we would urge the Northern Ireland Assembly to hasten procedures to get this project delivered so we can start reaping the benefits of greater connectivity with Great Britain and Europe as soon as possible.”

Notes for editors

For media information please contact FTA’s media team on 01892 552255/01892 552253 or, out of hours, on 07985 874248 or 07818 450425.

 

FTA Press Office

01892 552255
press.office@fta.co.uk