Belfast Telegraph

Coast road’s rock falls are blamed on blasting... in 1842

By Linda Stewart

The famous Antrim Coastal Road is one of the most beautiful routes in Northern Ireland — but also one of the most hazardous.

Motorists travelling along the road have long been warned about the danger of rock falls or surface erosion as they wind their way through some of the most stunning scenery in Northern Ireland.

But now it has emerged that blasting techniques used by the famous ‘Men of the Glynnes’ who built the road more than 160 years ago, are responsible for the problems encountered today.

The crude blasting techniques used when the Antrim Coast Road was constructed in 1842 are combining with natural weathering processes to fracture the limestones and basalts along the clifftops of the iconic route, causing “ravelling and rock falls”, Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy has said,

Mr Murphy was commenting on a spate of rock falls that have dogged the Antrim Coast Road in recent months.

Damage to rock faces, slopes and sea defences caused by erosion and extreme weather conditions have ranged from rock falls near Carnlough, land slips at Glenarm and sea defences washed away at Ballygally.

On a visit to the road, the minister announced he has engaged engineering consultants to assess a number of areas of the road.

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