The A2 Shore Road in Northern Ireland provides a link between the two urban centres of Belfast and Carrickfergus and forms part of the country’s strategic road network.
At present the A2 Shore Road services approximately 61,000 vehicles each day, with 26,000 road users travelling north of Greenisland and 35,000 travelling south.
In 2002, The Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) identified this particular section of the A2 as a bottleneck route, which suffers from congestion. In order to rectify this situation, the existing road is being widened between Jordanstown Road and Troopers Lane Road in Carrickfergus by 3.5km and once complete will provide drivers with two lanes of carriageway in each direction.
The project is being implemented by the Department for Regional Development Northern Ireland, with GRAHAM Construction as the main contractor. A public inquiry was held in October 2007, with funding announced on the scheme in February 2012 and GRAHAM Construction appointed in January 2013. The project began with a sod cutting ceremony on 21st March 2013.
Works on the project include the installation of 1.9 km of on-line 6.75m wide dual carriageway; the installation of 1.6km of off-line 7.3km wide carriageway; and the construction of four new roundabouts. New and improved road junctions will also be fitted, along with new traffic signals at the junction of the A2 Trunk Road and Troopers Lane.
Various structures will be constructed as part of the project, include a new overbridge at Whinfield Lane. Meanwhile, the Statutory Bodies’ apparatus will be altered and renewed.
To complete the project, landscaping works which incorporates tree and shrub planting will take place, along with the installation of kerbs, footways and cycleways.
In January 2014, Team members from the A2 site visited Rosstulla Special Needs School in Newtownabbey to share with the students information about the scheme. Students were given information about the different aspects of work involved in the project and were shown progress pictures of the site. Such was the success of the visit to Rosstulla Special Needs School the pupils were inspired to make a class project detailing how the scheme will make a difference to the local area.
The A2 Shore Road Widening project is scheduled for completion in summer 2015.
For further information about the Department for Regional Development Northern Ireland, please visit: www.drdni.gov.uk.