Sammy Wilson announces £580m investment in roads and hospitals
A £580m package of roads and hospital building projects will be undertaken in Northern Ireland in the next four years, the Stormont Executive has agreed.
The investment will include a £330 million spend on two sections of the upgrade of the A5 road.
Work will proceed on turning the stretches between Londonderry and Strabane and Omagh and Ballygawley into dual carriageway.
The executive has also given the go-ahead for £90 million-worth of work on a new hospital in Omagh, further refurbishment at the Altnagelvin hospital in Derry and the Ulster Hospital outside Belfast.
The upgrade to the A2 road between Belfast and Carrickfergus will cost £57 million and an additional £105 million will be spent on the A8 from Larne to Belfast.
The upgrade of the A5 was originally planned as a much bigger cross-border joint investment by the Dublin and Belfast administrations.
The scheme would have included road improvements between Monaghan and Aughnacloy and Letterkenny and Lifford.
But the project hit trouble last year when the Irish Government withdrew substantial financial support as part of austerity measures south of the border.
The money the Stormont Executive is spending on the A5 is now much less, with the surplus being directed toward the other roads and hospital projects.
The route of the proposed A5 is also a matter of contention, with many land-owners fearful that they will lose out.
The Northern Ireland stretch has been subject to a public inquiry.