The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malclm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the hon. Gentleman in response to this question.
Letter from Malcolm McKibbin, dated 28 November 2006:
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding when a decision will be made on the Firmus Energy proposal to build a natural gas pipeline across Craigavon Bridge in Derry. As this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.
By way of some background, I can advise that Roads Service met with Firmus Energy on 30 May 2006 and agreed that a gas pipeline could be constructed across Craigavon Bridge. This agreement was subject to Technical Approval being granted and agreement on all temporary traffic management arrangements being reached.
Firmus subsequently applied for Technical Approval and on 21 November 2006 the Agreement in Principle to their outline proposals was issued. On receipt of their Design and Check certificates to cover their proposals, approval will be given for them to proceed, subject to preparation of approved temporary Traffic Management Plans.
Discussions are currently ongoing with our local Traffic Section, with further meetings due in the near future, to plan the traffic management arrangements to minimise disruption. I am sure you will appreciate the importance of ensuring traffic disruption on this key route in the City is minimized, during the pipe installation work.
In anticipation of meeting the necessary requirements, it has been agreed that work may commence on 15 January 2007, after the embargo on all non emergency road works during the Christmas period has been lifted.