GLENGORMLEY councillor Mark Cosgorve, a former Carrick deputy mayor, hailed the start of the A2 upgrade works as a “momentous occasion” with long term benefits that will far outweigh the disruption caused during its construction.
He said: “Having lived or worked in Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus nearly all my life, this is a momentous day.
“This is a great example of locally accountable ministers in action. When the previous DRD minister, Conor Murphy, said the A2 was not one of his priorities the long-suffering commuters and businesses of Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus were dismayed.
“The Ulster Unionist Party then made the road one of our top priorities when we gained control of DRD and, thanks to Minister Kennedy’s tenacious approach, we were able to cut the first sod.
“This is a great day for the 30,000-plus daily users of this road, who know there will be some short term pain, but significant long term benefits and it is a great example of the Ulster Unionist Party delivering real improvements in peoples every day lives.”
Also attending last week’s official sod-cutting ceremony was East Antrim Assembly member Alastair Ross.
He said: “Local representatives from all levels of Government have been campaigning for this upgrade for decades now, but finally it has got the green light from the Northern Ireland Executive and work has begun.
“Anyone who travels along this stretch of road knows the frustration of slow-moving traffic because of the existing bottleneck. This upgrade will significantly speed up journey times between Belfast and Carrick and ultimately be good for businesses and commuters.
“I would pay tribute to the Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, and Roads Minister Danny Kennedy who ensured Executive agreement for this scheme, and would also recognise the many years’ hard work that has been put in by Assembly members, past and present, as well as local councillors in Carrick and Newtownabbey.
“This is a good news story for east Antrim, but I would encourage people to show patience during the construction phase and like others I look forward to the completion of the upgrade.”