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Minister confirms Christmas roadworks embargo in run-up to busy festive period

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Minister confirms Christmas roadworks embargo in run-up to busy festive period thumbnailAn embargo has been placed on roadworks in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area for all non-essential work on key routes in the run-up to the busy festive period.

ROADS Minister, Chris Hazzard, has confirmed a Christmas embargo on roadworks in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area for all non-essential work on key routes.

Speaking on Monday, Minister Hazzard confirmed that the embargo will run from 28 November until just after the New Year on January 3.

"As towns and cities across the North prepare for the busy Christmas period, I am keen to do what I can to support local businesses and assist shoppers. The recent changes in the exchange rate means we will have more people coming North to shop and it is vital that traffic flow around the commercial centres is maintained during rush hour over the Christmas shopping period," he said.

"The roadworks embargo has been ongoing for number of years and I am grateful to all the utilities involved for their continued support with this highly successful initiative.

"It is a real example of an integrated approach which will help to improve journey times and increase the use of public transport which is a key outcome in the draft Programme for Government and is good news for our environment and economy and will deliver real benefits for all."

Mr Hazzard also welcomed confirmation of number of public transport fare reductions for the areas.

"Our public transport network plays a key part in ensuring disruption is kept to a minimum. Jointly, my department and Translink have developed a range of public transport fare reductions to help traffic flows at this busy time of the year," he said,

News of the embargo has been welcomed by the Mayor, Alderman Hilary McClintock, who said the move would go a long way to supporting local shops.

"I am delighted that the Minister has taken action to ensure that our shops and businesses remain accessible to all over the Christmas period. These are challenging economic times and shops already face a huge amount of competition from online traders.

"Any measures which bring more shoppers into our commercial centres where they can support local business are to be welcomed," she said.

Elsewhere, Strabane Sinn Fein councillor, Brian McMahon, said the move will provide a boost to local businesses over the busy Christmas shopping period.

"This embargo, which will run from November 28 to January 3, 2017, for all but essential road works, in an around our local commercial centres is good news for shoppers and provides a boost for local businesses who depend so much on the Christmas and New Year seasonal trade in these challenging economic times. 

"I also welcome the joint initiative by his department and Translink to develop a range of public transport fare reductions on Ulsterbus and Goldline routes including day return tickets for the price of a single up until the December 31, which will hopefully encourage greater public transport use and further help ease traffic congestion in the run up to Christmas."

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