Transport Minister Conor Murphy has announced the preferred route for the planned £113m dualling of the A8 between Ballyclare and Larne in east Antrim.
Much of the 14km stretch between the Coleman’s Corner roundabout near Ballyclare and B100 Ballyrickard Road junction near Larne will be an upgrade of the existing single carriageway to dual carriageway, but bypasses will be built to the east of Bruslee and the west of Ballynure, he said.
Not only will the scheme improve road safety and cut journey times but it will be instrumental in developing the Port of Larne, the minister said, announcing the decision today at Corr’s Corner Hotel near Ballyclare.
“I am pleased to confirm the preferred route for this strategically important road scheme. This development, in terms of transport links, will act as a catalyst to the local economy, particularly during these uncertain financial times,” Mr Murphy said.
“Some 17,000 vehicles currently use the A8 every day, a high proportion of which are heavy goods vehicles.
“The A8 Belfast to Larne dualling between Coleman’s Corner roundabout and the B100 Ballyrickard Road junction will improve road safety and reduce journey times, benefiting both the travelling public and the business community. The improvement will also help develop the Port of Larne, which is the second largest port in the north.
“Selecting the preferred route has been challenging, but I believe the route chosen is an equitable balance of traffic, environmental and engineering issues, and provides an economically viable solution.”
The announcement comes after the in-depth assessment of 12 potential corridors for the route. These were assessed using the Government’s five key objectives for transport — environment, safety, economy, accessibility and integration.
Roads Service also undertook consultation exhibitions in November 2008, followed by one-to-one consultations with all potentially affected landowners.
Mr Murphy said Roads Service will continue to develop the design for in preparation for progressing the project through the necessary environmental, planning and land acquisition statutory procedures.
Affected land owners and other interested parties will continue to be individually consulted.