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How to bypass delays


Construction is due to start on the £8M Newtownstewart bypass in Northern Ireland in July after the project was procured from a standing start in just 28 months.

Effective public consultation has ensured few objections and a relatively smooth navigation of statutory procedures, according to the project consultant.

The Northern Ireland Roads Service appointed a Scott WilsonFerguson McIlveen partnership as consultant in January 1999 to develop route options, select an optimum scheme and take the project through statutory procedures before procuring a contractor.

Newtownstewart is a small market town in County Tyrone on the strategic A5 trunk road between Dublin and Londonderry with a population of just 1,700.

Around 8,000 vehicles use the road each day and although the road has strong local support, the town and 3km bypass route is close to the ecologically important Strule river.

'Public consultation was a very important issue, ' says Scott Wilson-Ferguson McIlveen project director Ronnie Hunter. Statutory procedures in Northern Ireland follow the three stages of Environmental Statement, Direction Order and Vesting Orders for land.

There is potential for objection and consequent public inquiry at each stage.

'We adopted an integrated engineering and environmental approach to the design and it was essential to maintain continuous dialogue with the public, ' says Hunter. 'Listening and adapting the design accordingly has produced a scheme which was taken through the statutory process without objection or public inquiry.'

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