Minister praises speed of Shore Road improvements
Work on a £50m scheme to upgrade the Shore Road at Greenisland is progressing at an "impressive" speed, Transport Minister Danny Kennedy has said.
Mr Kennedy made the remark following a visit to review progress at the road improvement measures.
The contract is now 26 weeks into a tight 120 week programme which involves upgrading some 3.5kilometres of the A2 to dual carriageway standard, between Jordanstown Road and Seapark.
Improvements will also include building four new roundabouts at Shore Avenue, Shorelands, Station Road, Greenisland and Seapark junction.
Mr Kennedy said: "Progress to date on this scheme has been very impressive. Up to the end of July approximately 65,000 man hours have been worked on the scheme, which equates to 36 man years.
"The site has been cleared, excavation of earthworks carried out and construction of accommodation works is ongoing at many adjacent properties.
"An extensive programme of works within the University of Ulster and Belfast High School grounds have been completed within their summer holiday periods.
"I would like to thank property owners and the travelling public for their patience while these works are constructed within very tight and difficult constraints. Once completed, this scheme will significantly ease the long-standing traffic congestion on this busy route which carries around 35,000 vehicles each day."
The Minister added his praise for construction contractors Graham Construction: "I am very pleased to see that the contractors, are providing employment opportunities for the unemployed and students as well as for apprentices.
"There is a firm commitment that one in 20 of Graham's staff are apprentices. The contract provides the equivalent of nine years of work experience and includes two placements for engineering students.
"The construction industry is vital to the local economy and we must continue to ensure that local firms and local people are given every opportunity to gain experience and employment through schemes such as this."
The works are expected to be completed by summer 2015.