Alliance Infrastructure spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has called for the Department for Infrastructure to clarify what’s next for the York Street Interchange project after a judge confirmed the contract awarded for it is to be set aside. Many commuters from Down and Ards will be affected by this decision.
With around 100,000 vehicles using the junction every day, it would have been one of the largest infrastructure projects Belfast had ever seen. Part of it would have been paid for using the ‘confidence and supply’ money from the UK Government.
“This decision effectively halts a project which would have resolved congestion and road chaos across the city. Instead we are now seeing yet more of the confidence and supply money which will not see the light of day,” said Ms Armstrong.
“While the Department will inevitably try to find some projects to use some of this investment, it is unlikely the bulk will be used for its original intention. We are seeing the first test of the Secretary of State’s new legislation giving civil servants increased powers – will the Department now put the contract out to tender again or will the whole project be left in limbo until the Executive returns?
“This comes at a time when construction firms are already seeing a downturn. This is not just a failure of procurement processes but a lack of Government leadership. It is time the Secretary of State gets the parties back around the table and progresses talks with an independent facilitator at the helm or she may find history will portray her as being at the wheel while the Belfast economy crashed.”