Delivered by the Department for Infrastructure the A6 Dualling Scheme will upgrade 14.7 kilometres of transport corridor between Randalstown and Castledawson, a route used by 20,000 vehicles each day, which often experiences congestion at key times.
Graham Farrans Joint Venture have been awarded the contract of this essential work, which once completed, will bring long term social and economic benefits to the local area.
The flagship investment of £185m will strengthen the links between Belfast and Derry/ Londonderry and will bring the long term benefits to road users and the local community of reduced journey times and improved road safety.
The first phase of scheme has been officially opened in September 2019. Traffic was allowed to use a 7 kilometre stretch of the Randalstown to Toome dual carriageway for the first time in August, however, lane and speed restrictions remained in place while works were ongoing on the M22 Junction 3 and tie-in works to the existing road network were constructed. Those final works have now been completed and the whole 7.5 kilometre stretch of new dual carriageway is now fully open between Toome and the M22 at Randalstown.
Speaking at the official opening in Toome, Katrina Godfrey, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Infrastructure said: “The A6 is a strategically important route as it connects the North West to Belfast and beyond. The construction of the Flagship Randalstown to Castledawson Dualling scheme will contribute to the economic development of the region and bring long term benefits to road users and local communities. It is also helping to secure jobs in the construction industry, with the vast majority of construction spend going directly to the local economy.
Gareth McLaverty, Contracts Manager, GFJV said: ”The completion of the first phase is a significant milestone for the scheme and welcome news for the 20,000 vehicles using the route each day. The feedback from road users since the opening of the first stretch of new dual carriageway has already been extremely positive, with shorter, safer and more reliable journey times already experienced. With the works in this section now completed and the traffic restrictions removed, road safety will be further enhanced for car user, freight and the public transport services along this route.”
Ciara McAuley, a Student Engineer on the project said: “To see the progress on a day to day basis on such a big scheme is brilliant. This has prepared me for the world of work. Every day you learn something new. Being a woman in engineering on this site has been a great experience. I’d really encourage girls especially from school age to start thinking about engineering and going towards those subjects.”
“Delivering extensive improvements to the roads infrastructure involves the cooperation and understanding of the local community. I acknowledge the impact that this scheme has had on residents, landowners, businesses and road users.
“The Department for Infrastructure and the Graham Farrans joint Venture would like to thank all those impacted for their patience and support during the works.”
Emma Boyes, Site Monitor Engineer, AECOM said: “It’s brilliant to be on such a big scheme. The number of women in the engineering sector is increasing and this project is a good example of this as there are a lot of female engineers working on the ground. I enjoy the environment of working onsite and would encourage young women who are thinking about engineering to pursue it.”
The Toome to Castledawson section is due to be completed in early 2021.