Larne Mayor, Councillor Gerardine Mulvenna has welcomed the official start of work on the A8 dual carriageway project, describing it as “essential” for the Port of Larne and the local economy.
Speaking at the official launch of the £100m project at Corr’s Corner Hotel on Thursday (October 11), Councillor Mulvenna said: “Larne Borough Council has been campaigning over many years for the upgrade of the A8 to Belfast. Our campaign has included representation to MLAs, MPs, MEPs and even to the European Commissioner, Neil Kinnock, as far back as 1999.
“This route continues to be very significant for both Larne Borough and for Northern Ireland as a whole, linking as it does the capital city and the second largest port. Even before the upgrade is completed the huge benefits to the local economy in Northern Ireland will become apparent in the number of construction and allied trades which will be involved in the work.
“Larne Borough Council welcomes this upgrade as an essential element in the drive to revitalise the economy, grow the tourism industry and improve road safety in east Antrim and Northern Ireland. As a council we recognise these benefits will hugely outweigh any localised inconvenience during the construction period.”
The Alliance councillor, who regularly uses the busy route, said the upgrade will bring significantly reduced journey times for those who make the daily commute to Belfast, and people travelling to and from the Port of Larne.
She stressed that the benefits of the project, when complete, will be felt in Ireland and beyond, given the tourist and commercial ferry links between Larne and Scotland.
“We have waged this campaign for many years in order to maximise the full efficiency and safety of this key transport corridor in the Ireland, UK, Benelux road network,” she added.
Councillor Mulvenna described the A8 upgrade as “essential” for the future of the Port of Larne and the local economy, having the potential to attract new businesses and jobs to the area.
“The dualling of the A8 will act as a further incentive for potential investors, allowing easier and safer access to the town and port.
“The cutting of this sod today is testament to the efforts of all those who have remained committed to the realisation of the vision for the upgrade and dualling of this arterial route - one which is key to Larne, east Antrim, Northern Ireland and beyond. We eagerly anticipate the completion of the works and wish all involved every success,” she concluded.