The final section of the A6 Randalstown to Castledawson Dualling Scheme in Northern Ireland has opened.
Traffic now can use a 5km stretch of new dual carriageway between Toome and Castledawson, following weekend works to link the new dual carriageway with the existing road network.
The Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure described the opening of the section as ‘a significant milestone in the delivery of the A6 Flagship project’, adding that the entire £189m scheme to upgrade 14.7km of the A6 North Western Transport Corridor between Randalstown and Castledawson is ‘almost complete’.
Ms Mallon with (left to right) Stevie Collins, GRAHAM Construction, and Brian McCool, Farrans Construction
Infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon, who opened the new section, said: ‘The A6 is a strategically important route, as it connects the North West to Belfast and beyond.
‘The construction of this flagship scheme will improve connectivity, contribute to the economic development of the area and bring long-term benefits to road users and local communities. Crucially it will also improve road safety and improve regional balance.'
The first phase of the scheme, a 7.5km stretch of new dual carriageway between the M22 at Randalstown and Toome, was opened in August 2019.
Ms Mallon said ‘This has already brought significant benefits for road users, by enabling shorter, safer and more reliable journey times. The opening of a further 5km of new dual carriageway to traffic is a massive step forward in the project and welcome news for the 20,000 vehicles using the route each day.
‘Delivering extensive improvements to the roads infrastructure involves the co-operation and understanding of the local community. I acknowledge the impact that this scheme has had on residents, landowners, businesses and road users. The good news is that the end is in sight and we look forward to the full completion of the scheme in early 2021.’
Last week, the Northern Ireland Executive announced a 'two-week circuit breaker' to slow the spread of Coronavirus, including an injunction to 'stay at home, work from home if at all possible, otherwise only leave for essential purposes'.
Photo of the A6 at opening today shows one reason for the temporary 40 mph speed limit - central safety barrier isn’t finished yet.— Wesley Johnston (@niroads) November 23, 2020