Transport company owner hits out over A8 road project

Businessman John Allen believes some of the �100m allocated to the A8 upgrade would have been better spent constructing the long-awaited Ballyclare bypass road.

Businessman John Allen believes some of the �100m allocated to the A8 upgrade would have been better spent constructing the long-awaited Ballyclare bypass road.

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A BALLYCLARE haulier has hit out at Transport Minister Danny Kennedy over the A8 dual carriageway project.

During an event last week to mark the official start of work on the £100million scheme, Mr Kennedy claimed that upgrading the Belfast - Larne road will “help grow the local economy” by improving travel times for commuters and businesses, particularly those using the Port of Larne.

However, local businessman John Allen, owner of John Allen Transport based near Ballyclare, disagrees with the Minister’s assessment of the situation and believes the money allocated to improving the A8 could have been better spent elsewhere, with some of it being used to fund the long-awaited Ballyclare relief road.

“I’m involved in transport and have been for the last 42 years, with at least 20 of those years driving on the A8 about 12 times a day in and out of Larne. Even in the 1970s and 1980s with a higher volume of traffic when the three main transport companies - Woodsides, Montgomerys and Dukes - were all using the port of Larne for all their shipping, even then the traffic was never at a standstill. Now in 2012 we have a greater volume of heavy traffic using the ports of Belfast and Warrenpoint. In my opinion the A8 dual carriageway project is a white elephant,” Mr Allen told the Times.

Turning to the stalled Ballyclare link road project, due to be constructed between Templepatrick Road and Rashee Road as part of the £400million Westlands housing development, Mr Allen called on local politicians to take action to resolve the existing traffic problems in and around the town.

“Maybe the Transport Minister would visit Ballyclare any day and see for himself the traffic problem there with traffic in gridlock, and the need for him to fund the bypass that was to have been in place by now,” he added.