A8 improvement works remain on schedule

Picture: Michael Cooper
Picture: Michael Cooper

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy has visited the site of the A8 Larne to Belfast dual carriageway scheme to review the progress made so far.

Construction on 14km of the existing A8, between Coleman’s Corner roundabout and Ballyrickard Road, to improve it to dual carriageway standard, is now 13 months into a 34-month programme.

Minister Danny Kennedy said: “Progress on the improvement scheme is impressive and it is on schedule to be complete and open to traffic by Spring 2015.

“With over 80 per cent of the pipe culverts and other utility diversions complete, works are progressing well on the key structures and bulk earthworks activities.”

The scheme, which is part funded by the European Commission under its Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) funding, will incorporate a new roundabout at Shane’s Hill Road, and a number of new junctions and bridges.

Mr Kennedy added: “Upgrading the A8 to dual carriageway will help grow the local economy and contribute to wider economic development across Northern Ireland.

“The construction industry is vital to this growth and I am determined to ensure that local firms are given every opportunity to gain experience and employment through projects such as this major improvement scheme.

“In addition to the hundreds of construction jobs this scheme has already provided, I am impressed that the contractor, Lagan Ferrovial Costain, has recruited three people who were on the unemployment register, employed seven placement students, four apprentices, and has also provided 257 ‘Steps to Work’ placement weeks.”

Advanced archaeological investigations works along the scheme are also now complete. The only significant find was a 2000 BC Neolithic roundhouse settlement at the A57 Templepatrick Road junction.

Further information on the scheme can be found at http://www.a8lfc.com