SDLP West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan has welcomed the setting of a date for the latest stage of the public inquiry into the A5 Western Transport Corridor Road Scheme.
The inquiry will reopen on Monday 15th May.
Mr McCrossan said it was of the utmost importance that the project proceeds as soon as possible.
The road project, which proposes to update the existing A5 to dual carriageway between Newbuildings and Aughnacloy, has been welcomed in Donegal with the project making the journey from Donegal to Dublin via a new A5 dual carriageway much more feasible.
West Tyrone MLA Mr McCrossan said: “I welcome that we now have a date for the resumption of the A5 public inquiry. It’s deeply disappointing that this project has been beset with delays and challenges from the outset and I would have hoped that by this stage we would be much closer to having this vital work carried out.
“The importance of this work to people in our communities cannot be overstated.
“We have seen far too many lives lost on the A5, with 48 deaths since 2008 and 78 since 1998, leaving families broken and I have seen firsthand the impact this has had on people in this area. If we want to prevent further injury and loss of life on the A5 then it’s important that we begin these improvements works as soon as possible.
“This work is vital not just for road safety, but to improve transport links across this part of the North. The lack of modern infrastructure has often been cited as a reason we have struggled to attract new jobs and investment to this area and a new and safer road could make a big difference in that respect, bringing a much-needed economic boost to our communities.
“I would urge those who have opposed this project at every turn to think about the negative impact they are having on people here. I am willing to work with anyone to address legitimate concerns, but the reality is that this work will save lives and there’s nothing more important than that.”