Murphy announces three contracts for A5 works

The North's Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy has announced that three contracts have been awarded for three different sections of the A5 Dual Carriageway Route.

It's intended that work will start after a public enquiry in 2011, but Mr Murphy says he wantas to ensure that the contractors are ready as soon as the final go ahead for the work is given.

The three contracts will be delivered simultaneously, to ensure the quickest possible timeframe for the completion of the biggest ever infrastructure project west of the Bann.

Section 1 covers the stretch from Newbuildings to Sion Mills, Section 2 from Sion Mills to Omagh and Section 3 from Omagh to the Monaghan border south of Aughnacloy.

Mr Murphy says the early appointment of the contractors will enable the firms involved to plan well ahead and build up capacity to ensure they are in a state of readiness once construction begins.

There's also been a wide welcome for the insertion of social clauses into the contracts, which mean the contractors must provide a minimum number of places for apprentices, and also give jobs top people who are long term unemployed.