Belfast Telegraph

Poor roads 'cost Northern Ireland's firms millions of pounds'

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland's manufacturers are losing millions of pounds in revenue as a result of failings in the province's infrastructure, it was claimed today.

Lobby group Manufacturing NI said improvement works on the A6 between Randalstown, Co Antrim, and Castledawson, Co Londonderry, needed to begin "immediately".

Delays in Moneynick and at the Toome bypass are preventing manufacturers in mid-Ulster from moving people and goods, the body added.

Chief executive Stephen Kelly said roads congestion in Belfast was not the only problem facing local infrastructure.

"Employers, exporters and commuters are enduring millions of pounds of additional cost, lost productivity and time by not even being able to make it to or from Belfast via the M22 and A6," he explained.

"Manufacturers would much rather be investing this money in new plant and premises and creating more jobs.

"An immediate start to improving the A6 from the motorway to Castledawson is the most important infrastructure investment to be made right now."

He said the completion of the A6 to Londonderry, the A5 in the west and the York Street Interchange was also crucial.

Mark Cuskeran, the chief executive of SDC Trailers, which is based in Toome, added: "We have 700 of our 950 staff based in our Toome facility, and there are always huge delays because of the poor and outdated existing road system.

"Furthermore, we have over 100 lorries coming in and out of our facility every day. This is costing SDC Trailers and our staff significant money, which we could direct towards expansion, staff training and new jobs."

Belfast Telegraph