The A8: Paving the way forward

Work to create 14.4 kilometres of new carriageway between Belfast and Larne continues to make good progress.

Construction of the stretch of road – which runs from Coleman’s Corner Roundabout to Ballyrickard Road – began in 2012 and is currently expected to reach completion in 2015. Arup Consulting Engineers is the project manager, whilst Lagan Ferrovial Costain Joint Venture (LFC) is the main contractor.

The Joint Venture involves the design, construction and provision of aftercare services for the entire A8 project. The Joint Venture award follows the successful completion of the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) phase of the scheme.

Commenting on the project, Costain Chief Executive, Andrew Wyllie, said:

“We were delighted to be awarded the contracts. They demonstrate not only the breadth of our service offering, but also our ability to deliver strategically vital infrastructure projects from the initial design stage, through consultation and project feasibility, as we continue to meet the national needs.

“Our focus continues in working closely with our partners to deliver excellent outputs for our customers.”

The A8 is considered to be a strategically important road within Northern Ireland, accommodating in excess of 17,000 vehicles per day. The road is the main route from Belfast to Larne, where a considerable amount of Northern Ireland’s freight enters and departs the country.

During a public inquiry the scheme initially received over 200 objections from landowners and concerned individuals, however once Arup met with all concerned parties this number was significantly reduced.

In May 2012, Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy announced the Department for Regional Development’s decision to proceed with the £100 million project after the scheme passed its public inquiries.

Approximately 55,000 tonnes of concrete, 1,300 tonnes of steel reinforcement and 31,000 tonnes of bituminous material are being used throughout the course of the A8 project.

Discussing the importance of the project during a sod cutting ceremony in October 2012, Minister Danny Kennedy, 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.”

Minister Kennedy added:

“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.”

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