The chief executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has written to the hon. Gentleman in response to this question.
Letter from Dr. Malcolm McKibbin, dated 28 November 2006:
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding the timescale for the commencement of the improvement schemes at the junctions of (a) Dromore Road, Hillsborough with the Al dual carriageway and (b) Banbridge Road, Dromore with the Al dual carriageway. As this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.
By way of background, the proposals to upgrade the Dromore Road, Hillsborough and Banbridge Road, Dromore junctions with the Al dual carriageway are included within a Design Build Finance and Operate (DBFO) Package announced by the then Minister for Regional Development, Mr John Spellar MP on 21st March 2005.
Roads Service is currently progressing the complex tendering process for the procurement of this package of road projects as a Public Private Partnership, and is working towards awarding the contract in Spring 2007.
The phasing of the construction of individual schemes, within the overall DBFO package of schemes, is for the successful tenderer to determine. As the tendering process is not complete, Roads Service is at this stage unable to provide a definitive date for the commencement of each scheme. However, from the information that the tenderers have provided, Roads Service is hopeful that both schemes would commence in the 2007 / 2008 financial year.