Call for Millennium Way funding move

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THERE is increased hope that funding could be secured for the completion of Millennium Way.

It comes following the Irish government’s decision to scrap funding for the A5 dual carriageway from Aughnacloy to Derry.

A possible £400 million could be earmarked for other infrastructure projects across Northern Ireland, including Lurgan’s Millennium Way.

Campaigners say they would like to see the road extended from Malcolm Road onto Flush Place.

This was in the road’s original plans.

An estimated £8 million is needed to complete the project.

The road is as an essential tool in easing traffic flow in the town centre.

Simon Dowey, of Lurgan Chamber of Commerce, said they will be lobbying regional development minister Danny Kennedy for the funding.

“We have already had two meetings with the minister,” he said.

“He told us during those meetings that there were a number of road projects being carried out, and whatever money was left in his budget could be earmarked for other projects.

“Now that these funds have gone back into the coffers, there’s every chance we could secure the funding for Millennium Way.”

It’s understood the money earmarked for the A5 will go back into the Department of Finance’s budget.

Respective departments, including Danny Kennedy’s, will have to bid for the money through finance minister Sammy Wilson.

“We have a number of local people representing us and we will keep the pressure on,” said Mr Dowey.

“Lurgan needs some attention, and all we are looking for is £8 million.

“We feel that this project is ready to roll out.”

He added: “It’s more likely now than it ever was.”

DUP MLA Stephen Moutray said the completion of Millennium Way is “long overdue”.

“Many local traders want to see it completed as the current situation results in a bottleneck through the town,” said Mr Moutray.

“There also continues to be very real health and safety issues for pupils at Lurgan Junior High School with regard to the present situation with significantly increased traffic levels along Toberhewny Lane.”

“This project needs to be prioritised and the people of Lurgan deserve a much better road infrastructure than has existed for many years.

“There is now an opportunity to do so and to bring this upgrade forward.”

He added: “We will continue to press for the much needed completion of this project.”