The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has said Stormont’s release of £105m will “finally make the A8 fit for purpose”.
The FTA said it was “delighted” at the move which will make funding available to upgrade the Larne to Belfast road. The leading trade body has been a long-time and vocal supporter of dualling this heavily trafficked, 14-kilometre stretch of single carriageway, to make safer and slicker one of Northern Ireland’s most vital trade routes.
Tom Wilson, FTA’s head of policy for Northern Ireland, said: “The A8 is a strategically significant trade route, but one which has lacked capacity to cope with the sheer volume of lorries that rely on this route to reach Larne port.
“It is an absolutely essential link in our supply chain between businesses on the island of Ireland and large freight hubs in northern England and Scotland. This funding will go a long way to improve Ireland’s connectivity and finally make the A8 fit for purpose.”
“The A8 has been the unfortunate setting for many fatal road traffic accidents, owing to the lack of safe overtaking opportunities along it.
“Typically, slower-moving agricultural vehicles do cause long tailbacks on this road and motorists do take risks when overtaking tractors, combine harvesters and the like. Dualling will reduce instances of risky overtaking,” said Mr Wilson.