Transport Minister Danny Kennedy today (Tuesday 19th) announced his decision to proceed with the £65million A26 dualling Glarryford to Drones Road scheme.
Having considered the Inspector’s Report into the public inquiries on the A26 scheme, the Minister has tasked Roads Service to progress the project, taking into account the Inspector’s recommended amendments.
The scheme will provide approximately seven kilometres of new dual carriageway from the Glarryford junction to Drones Road.
The Minister said: “This new all purpose dual carriageway will help reduce journey times and will improve road safety along the A26 which is the key transport route between Belfast and the north coast of Northern Ireland which has many popular tourist attractions. This main road connects the major hub towns of Antrim, Ballymena and Coleraine and currently carries 18,000 vehicles per day.
“In the current economic climate, this announcement will be welcome news for the construction industry. The scheme should lead to an increase in demand for local suppliers of construction material, as well as a boost to commercial trade in the surrounding area.
“I have accepted the Department’s conclusion that this scheme will not adversely affect the integrity of the Main Valley Bogs, Special Areas of Conservation, after considering the information presented within the Environmental Statement and the Appropriate Assessment carried out in accordance with national and EC Habitats Legislation,” said the Minister.
“Work on the new dual carriageway scheme, subject to a successful tender award, could start in late 2014. However, some advanced site clearance, fencing and archaeological investigation could commence in the coming months,” he said.