A6 Derry to Belfast milestone welcomed as Randalstown - Castledawson section completed
Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has welcomed the opening of the newly dualled Randalstown to Castledawson section of the A6.
The Foyle MLA was speaking as the remaining cones were removed on the key the section of the Derry to Belfast road on Monday.
“The entire section of the road will be open for road users with the national speed limit in place,” Ms. Anderson said. “That is good news for the thousands of people who use the A6 every day and for the wider north west economy. This A6 is a priority for Sinn Féin and the completion of this vital project will reduce journey times from Derry to Belfast, boost the local economy and improve road safety.”
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has now officially opened the completed the £189 million 14.7 kilometres scheme.
The Minister said: “The final completion of the scheme is fantastic news for the 22,000 vehicles using the route each day.
“Car users, freight and public transport services along this route will benefit from shorter, safer and more reliable journey times. Crucially this will also allow our emergency services to achieve faster response times when assisting our citizens in need.
“The A6 is a strategically important route, as it connects the North West to Belfast and beyond so I’m delighted that in addition to this scheme opening my Department continues to progress the Flagship £220m A6 Dungiven to Drumahoe Dualling scheme which will see the construction of a further 25.5 kilometres of dual carriageway and a bypass of Dungiven.
“Significant progress continues to be made on that scheme and it is on target to be completed in 2022.”
“The scheme has also helped to secure jobs in the construction industry, with the vast majority of construction spend going directly to the local economy. Significantly the project provided local employment opportunities for education leavers and the long term unemployed as well as training placements for apprentices and students across a number of disciplines. This has been an invaluable experience for all those involved and will assist them in their future careers.”
Acknowledging the support of the local community and the partnership working to deliver the scheme Minister Mallon said: “I want to acknowledge the impact of the works on residents, landowners, businesses and road users. Delivering extensive improvements to the roads infrastructure cannot be done without causing significant disruption. I’m sure at times this has been very frustrating, particularly for those living in the vicinity of the works, so I want to thank the local community for their cooperation and understanding over the past four years. I hope that everyone will see the wider benefits this road is now providing.
“A project of this size and significance requires partnership working across a number of organisations to ensure it runs smoothly. The job of constructing such a major piece of Infrastructure is no mean feat and two of our largest contractors, Graham Construction and Farrans, have worked together in a Joint Venture along with our consultants AECOM, designers ARUP and Roughan & O’Donovan and many sub-contractors and suppliers to deliver this project. I am also very grateful for the input from public sector partners. To all involved, you can be rightly proud of your contribution to this impressive new road.”
Leo Martin, Board Director of GRAHAM FARRANS JV said: “The completion of the A6 Randalstown to Castledawson dualling project will unlock a huge infrastructure route for the North West Transport Corridor and we are delighted to have played our part in delivering this.
“Since first breaking ground in summer 2017, we have overcome multiple engineering challenges and managed the project through strategic weekend closures to maximise safety and productivity throughout the project. This has been a huge scheme that has brought the scope and breadth of our civil engineering expertise into sharp focus.
“I would like to thank all stakeholders involved in the project for their tremendous efforts and to the public and businesses on the route for their patience and cooperation while we were improving this important highway.”