Regional development minister Danny Kennedy has directed the Roads Service to push on with the project, taking into account the recommendations of the inspector’s report into the public inquiries on the scheme. The inspector recommended that the proposed dual carriageway should be constructed in accordance with the preferred route, which bypasses Bruslee and Ballynure.
Construction will be carried out by a consortium of Lagan, Ferrovial and Costain and start next month (June). It will provide 14.4km of new dual carriageway from Coleman’s Corner Roundabout to Ballyrickard Road. Work is expected to take 30 months to complete.
Mr Kennedy said: “I welcome the benefits to road users with the provision of a new all purpose dual carriageway. This will help reduce journey times, improve road safety along the A8, and help the development of the Port of Larne, which is the second largest Port in Northern Ireland. As part of the Trans European Network, the A8 is a strategically significant Euro route, which provides an important East-West link, between Northern Ireland and Scotland, via the Port of Larne.”
The inspector made more than 130 recommendations, which include keeping Church Road open, the removal of the Rushvale Road-Calhame Road link and the provision of agricultural crossing facilities. The remaining recommendations made by the inspector are relatively minor and typically relate to accommodation works, provision of additional information, or recommendations for the detailed design or construction phase.