Spring Completion For A8
26 March 2015
An on-schedule spring completion is being targeted for the £130 million dualling of Northern Ireland’s A8 road between Belfast and Larne, as the Lagan Ferrovial Costain jv handling the job reaches the final phase of works.
The project, undertaken on behalf of Northern Ireland’s Department for Regional Development’s Transport NI involved designing and converting 14km of the A-road into dual carriageway. The job started in August 2012.
“It’s basically finishing off the black top and wearing course,” said Deputy Project Manager, Derek Bird. “All the structures are completed. We’ve covered about 95% of the black top and it’s just a case of final layers, completing bits of barriers and landscaping.”
Environmental aspects have been a major feature of the work and one of its big challenges, said Derek’s predecessor John Lee, who has now moved on to the recently-awarded M4 J28 Improvements contract in South Wales.
As well as coping with extremely wet weather last winter, ensuring that water courses on the line of the work were not polluted has been a major concern. Both local statutory and leisure groups – such as angling clubs – have been watching the schemes progress closely.
“It’s fair to say we’ve been quite successful in keeping them satisfied,” said John. “They undertook a study on fish stocks [in some of the waterways] and were quite happy both with how things had gone and with the way in which wildlife was coming back into the area.”
The other main challenge facing the team was keeping traffic moving while work was ongoing, said Derek. Around 70% of the work runs along the same line as the existing road, so managing traffic required considerable effort, with one lane in each direction being kept open. Around 14,000 vehicles passed through the traffic management works daily.
Costain Communications Department