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A8 Belfast To Larne Underway

25 October 2012

The Northern Ireland Minister for Regional Development, Danny Kennedy MLA, has signalled the start of the A8 Belfast to Larne Dualling (a Costain joint venture project) by cutting the first sod of the £102 million scheme.

The Minister said: “These works, which will take 34 months to complete, are of significant importance to the economic development of Northern Ireland.

“Upgrading the A8 to dual carriageway will help grow the local economy and contribute to the wider economic development in Northern Ireland, both in the short term and in the long term. It will also help with the development of the Port of Larne, which is the second largest Port in Northern Ireland.

“As part of the Trans European Network, the A8 is a strategically significant European route, which provides an important East-West link, between Northern Ireland and Scotland, via the Port of Larne.”

The scheme involves upgrading 14.4km of the existing A8, between Coleman’s Corner Roundabout and Ballyrickard Road, to dual carriageway standard, and incorporates a new roundabout at Shane’s Hill Road, as well as a number of grade-separated junctions, bridges and left-in left-out junctions along the scheme, which will provide access to the new road and local access.

The scheme seeks to improve journey times for this stretch of the A8 and will help remove the issues associated with platooning of traffic, thus reducing driver frustration and improving the safety performance of the route for all road users.

Construction of the scheme by the joint venture of Lagan, Ferrovial and Costain, started in August this year with the works expected to be completed in spring 2015.

Mr Kennedy continued: “Site works are currently ongoing which include the erection of temporary fencing, archaeology digs, culvert installation and other enabling works along the scheme.”

It is estimated that 55,000 tonnes of concrete, 1,300 tonnes of steel reinforcement and 310,000 tonnes of bituminous material will be used for the scheme which will lead to an increase in demand for local suppliers of construction material.

Finally the Minister congratulated all those involved in reaching this important milestone for the Department and wished them all the success during the works and good progress to the completion of the works.

He said: “I would like to wish the delivery team, including Lagan, Ferrovial, Costain joint venture, its designer URS, its sub-contractors, as well as my Department’s Roads Service and its consultants ARUP, every success during scheme construction. I look forward to the completion of the scheme in Spring 2015. I have no doubt this scheme will be of significant benefit to both strategic traffic and other road users in the local community.”