The first phase of A6 Randalstown to Castledawson Dualling Scheme was officially opened on 12 September 2019
The first phase of the A6 Randalstown to Castledawson Dualling Scheme has been officially opened. The £185 million scheme to upgrade almost 15 kilometres of the A6 North Western Transport Corridor between Randalstown and Castledawson is being delivered in two phases.
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.
Meet the team behind the A6: ahead of the official opening a series of videos were released - First up was the Department for Infrastructure's Divisional Roads Manager, David Porter who introduces us to the team & talks about the success of the scheme to date.
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.
We are delighted to introduce you to some of the people behind the project. Gareth McLaverty, contracts manager for Graham Farrans. Joint Venture chats to us about the impact of the successful scheme.
“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.
In our People Behind the A6 series QUB civil engineering student Ciara McAuley chats to us about her work on the major A6 dual carriageway "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.
Next in our People Behind the A6 series, Ulster University civil engineering student Jack Magee, chats to us about his experience on site ahead of the official launch of the 1st section.
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.”
The Toome to Castledawson section is due to be completed in early 2021.
“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.”
In our People Behind the A6 series this week, Emma Boyes - Site Monitor Engineer for AECOM chats to us about the scheme ahead of the official launch of the 1st section.
Two pupils from St Oliver Plunkett's Primary School, Toome participated in a poetry workshop ahead of the official opening and won the opportunity to read their winning poems at the opening event, held in the Elk Complex, Toome;
The Road by Juliet Murray
The new road, where the wildflowers grow and the cats eyes glow,
I see all the trees and the leaves, they enchant me,
I drive past the house, horses and hay,
Fields where sheep and cattle stay,
There is no dead end, it goes on forever,
But that’s what makes it an adventure,
Now safely home and in bed
The glorious image rests in my head.
“I’ve heard a lot from local people who are saying it is a great improvement and also from people who travel along the road from Belfast and have been very impressed by the journey time reliability and the views.” AECOM Project Manager, Alec Patterson, talks about the feedback he’s received on the project.
Under the Bridge by Grace O’Boyle
Under the beautiful bridge I see,
The carrot coloured cones,
The beautiful bees,
In the soft September breeze.
Under the blue bridge I smell,
The wonderful wild flowers,
The strong scent of the mill,
Wafting over the hills.
Under the dark bridge I hear,
The echo of Lough Neagh,
The trickling sounds of the rain,
I hear horses neigh.
Under the bridge I touch,
Stoney, rocky, clay,
The boiling black tarmac, is here to stay.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for the official opening of the 1st phase of A6 dual carriageway. The coming together of people from the local community, schools & project teams made it such a special & memorable day.