A2 Shore Road at Greenisland  - widening

 

Status
Construction scheme (completed)
Contractor: Graham Construction
Where
To widen the last remaining 2-lane single carriageway section of the Belfast to Carrickfergus Road to 4 lanes.
Total Length
2.35km / 1.46 miles
Dates

Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan prioritises scheme Nov 2004

Public consultation March 2005

Public inquiry held 8-16 October 2007

Results of public inquiry published September 2008

Approval to release tenders for construction - 30 Nov 2010

Scheme put on hold - 13 Jan 2011
Scheme given go-ahead once again - 14 Feb 2012

Vesting Order published - 31 Oct 2012
Contract awarded - 31 Jan 2013
Construction began 5 March 2013

Official "first sod" ceremony - 21 March 2013
Offline section opened to traffic - 2 June 2015 (with lane & speed restrictions)

All 4 lanes opened 25 September 2015

Officially opened 3 December 2015
(changed from "Aug 2015" as of Jun 2015, itself changed from "late Jun 2015" as of Feb 2012)

Cost
"Up to" 50m as of Dec 2015
(changed from 57m as of Feb 2012; 55.2m as of Oct 2007; 41.1m; originally 21.1m)
Photos
See below for photos.
See Also

General area map

Official web site on scheme - Roads Service
Contractor's web site on scheme - Graham Construction

Roads Service information leaflet on scheme [216kB]

Shore Road Action Group - fighting against the "online" option (no longer live)

A2 Hazelbank to Station Road on this site

A2 Greenisland to Carrickfergus on this site

Click here to jump straight down to updates for this scheme.

The A2 Shore Road forms the route from the end of the M5 all the way to Carrickfergus, taking it through the commuter suburbs of Whiteabbey, Jordanstown and the village of Greenisland. A short section at the Whiteabbey end and a section near Carrickfergus are dual-carriageway, while most of the rest is 4-lane single-carriageway. The exception is the short section through Greenisland village which is 2-lane single carriageway. This is a serious bottleneck and causes huge delays and much stress every day for the vehicles which travel along the route (26,000 per day north of Greenisland; 35,000 south of Greenisland).

The new road follows the route shown in the below map (the other two options were rejected). For those who are interested, TransportNI have more detailed maps here.

Map of proposals (southern end) released to the public in March 2007.

Map of proposals (northern end) released to the public in March 2007.

The road has been built to dual-carriageway standard with two lanes each way. There are four roundabouts, the first three of which are signalised:

  • The Shore Road entrance to Ulster University (previously a T-junction).
  • At "Shorelands" (previously a T-junction).
  • At Station Road, Greenisland (previously traffic lights).
  • At Seapark (near the police station entrance).

At all other junctions, drivers are required to turn left only and use the next roundabout along to turn round if they wished to turn right. An exception has been made at Station Road to allow buses only to turn right into the former Shore Road from the new road.

For completeness, the three options considered before the decision was made were:

  • Inland Option: routing a new 4-lane road inland, to the west of the existing road. This would involve the demolition of 30 homes and impact on 5 gardens. It would utilise fields and some largely undeveloped land attached to 2 schools and 2 churches.
  • Online Option: widening the existing road to 4 lanes. This would involve the demolition of 27 homes and impact on 41 gardens.
  • Combined Option: widen the Belfast end of the existing road, and build a new road inland for the part of the route from Station Road to Seapark. This would involve the demolition of 23 homes and impact on 25 gardens.

Progress

9 Dec 2015: About ten weeks after both lanes each way opened to traffic, the scheme was "officially" opened on Thursday 3 December 2015 by the new DRD Minister Michelle McIlveen (the event ironically requiring a road closure!). In the press release, the Minister comments that the total cost of the scheme "is expected to be up to 50 million" which is slightly below the estimate of 57m given in 2012. The scheme also attracted some EU finding - it's not clear if the figure of 50m is the total scheme cost, or just the cost paid by the DRD. Congratulations to the contractor, Graham Construction, and their subcontractors for an excellent piece of work.


DRD Minister Michelle McIlveen officially opening the scheme on 3 December 2015. The DRD press release did not identify the other two gentlemen, but they are probably representatives of the DRD and/or the contractor, Graham Construction [DRD].

9 Nov 2015: All four lanes of the road have now been open for six weeks now. It's still too early in my view to properly assess the impact of the scheme (let's leave that until January at the earliest) but anecdotal evidence suggests the impact of the scheme is greater in the evening peak than the morning peak. In the morning peak, congestion seems to have been shifted down to Whiteabbey, but there is a more noticeable impact in the evening. Not surprisingly, there have been a number of 'teething issues' including public wariness of the signalised roundabouts, dissatisfaction of timings at signalised pedestrian crossings and issues relating to the cycle lane that runs to one side of the new road, but hopefully these can be sorted out in due course. I am now marking this scheme as "completed", although minor works may continue for some weeks yet.

26 Sep 2015: As promised by the contractor, all four lanes of the A2 Shore Road were opened to traffic on Saturday, 25 Sep and were certainly open at 6pm when Ian Parsley traveled through. Its not clear whether they will remain open all weekend, but it certainly seems almost certain that they will be fully open on Monday morning. It is now over two and a years since work began so both residents and road users will really welcome the fact that we are now at this stage. There will of course need to be a few weeks to allow road users to get used to the new road and the junctions, but by early winter we should be in a position to assess the impact that this scheme has had. In terms of cost per kilometres it is one of the most expensive road schemes built here in recent years, mainly due to the very high land costs along the route and the fact that almost every inch of land purchased on the online stretch was residential or commercial, as opposed to open farmland.

3 Sep 2015: The schools went back on Tuesday, 1 September but many road users were frustrated that the second lane in each direction has not yet opened (currently only one lane each way is in use). This led to significant congestion in the rush hours this week. Although the DRD had anticipated that the scheme would be completed in August, there appear to have been some delays. Its possible that these delays relate to the weather which can impact on works such as laying concrete or tarmac. Local councillor John Stewart put a message on his Facebook page stating that he had met the contractor and reported that They have confirmed that the scheme run over its original completion date but that all works will thankfully be finished by the 25th September (3 weeks from now). They have apologised for the delays suffered by motorists this week heading into Belfast and have now made some changes to road layout that will hopefully see traffic flow better until the scheme is finished. Im not clear on what the "changes to road layout" might refer to, but it does appear as if we could expect all four lanes to be open to traffic on or before 25th September which is good news. The DRD Minister, Danny Kennedy, resigned yesterday. Although one of his first actions when he became minister was to re-start the process that led to the construction of this scheme, his resignation unfortunately came just slightly too soon to see it opened to traffic. Although the "old" bit of Shore Road, between Seapark and Station Road, is now bypassed and vehicles can no longer turn right into it at Greenisland, vehicles can still travel along this stretch citybound and rejoin the new road at the Greenisland end. Anecdotal evidence suggests large numbers of drivers were doing this in the morning peak this week to bypass the queues, which is an issue that the DRD may need to address in due course. With thanks to Denise Martin for letting me know about Mr Stewart's post.

18 Aug 2015: Four days after the previous update, I managed to get an hour away from the baby and enjoyed travelling the length of the scheme this afternoon. As reported, one lane is open in each direction, and all four roundabouts are now in use. The first three (University, Shorelands and Station Road) will be signalised eventually, but as of today only the lights at Station Road were operational. The last roundabout, at Seapark, is a conventional (ie, non-signalised) roundabout and is also in use. The road has two sections - an online upgrade from the University to Station Road, and then an inland section from there to Seapark (see map at the top of the page). The old Shore Road bypassed by the offline section is now accessible only from the Seapark roundabout and was practically deserted today. By contrast, the new road was stop-start all the way from Jordanstown to Greenisland, illustrating again that until the upgrade this was almost certainly the most congested inter-urban trunk road in Northern Ireland in terms of vehicles per lane. It looks to me as if completing the roundabouts is one of the only significant tasks still to be done, and it would not surprise me if we had all four lanes open within three or four weeks. The pictures below were taken today by yours truly, and are arranged in order from south to north.


Pic 1: University roundabout seen on 18 Aug 2015 approaching from the Belfast direction. Note the traffic signals now in place but not yet in use, and the lane markings also completed. You can see workers hard at work adding the brickwork to the roundabout island, a task which is harder than it looks due to the need to follow a curve. And what must be the most "public" portaloo in Belfast! [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 2: View north-east on the new road on 18 Aug 2015 from just north of the University roundabout, close to Belfast High School. The road here is basically complete to the point that the soil in the central reservation was being rotavated in places, presumably in preparation for sowing grass (but will it be cut?). Still one lane each direction with a 30mph speed limit. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 3: Shorelands roundabout seen from Shorelands on 18 Aug 2015, with the vehicles visible travelling towards Carrickfergus on the Shore Road. This will be a signalised roundabout but as yet only the columns have been installed and are awaiting their heads. The place is still festooned with cones. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 4: Between Shorelands and Station Road the road is again basically completed, seen here looking north east on 18 Aug 2015. The footway on the right will host a cycle path, which was noticeably in use in other locations by cyclists. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 5: We have lights! Station Road roundabout operating as a bona-fide signalised roundabout on 18 Aug 2015. Note the tan-coloured high friction surface, designed to reduce the chance of heavy braking turning into a skid. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 6: The offline stretch, which has been open for two and a half months now, has a surprisingly rural feel to it by virtue of running inland past the heavily developed shore. Seen on 18 Aug 2015 when it still has a 30mph speed limit. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 7: I was reluctant to take too many photos at Seapark due to the huge PSNI station entrance and the presence of a number of officers on guard. This view is taken from further back looking north-east from the "old" Shore Road towards the new roundabout on 18 Aug 2015. The silver car is passing round the central island of the roundabout. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 8: Same location as previously, but turning and looking towards Belfast along the "old" Shore Road. The road here is now a cul-de-sac and was practically deserted on 18 Aug 2015. I do hope the DRD, or perhaps the new council when it gets sufficient powers, considers physically reducing the width of this road. This section now merely accesses a handful of houses but is four lanes wide. [Wesley Johnston]

14 Aug 2015: After almost two and a half years of work, we are now in the final weeks of this project. As far as I understand - although I have not been along the road to check - traffic is now using both carriageways of the new road, albeit with only one lane open in each direction. I also understand that Seapark roundabout (at the north end of the scheme, beside the PSNI station) is now in use as a proper roundabout. The final layer of tarmac has already been laid on most of the stretches between junctions via normal lane closures. However, surfacing the roundabouts unfortunately requires full road closures. The first of these took place last Sunday (9 Aug) when the Shore Road was closed from Jordanstown Road to Trooperslane to allow surfacing of the roundabouts at the Ulster University and Shorelands. This Sunday (16 Aug) there will be a second closure of Shore Road to surface the Station Road roundabout. There will then be a full closure of Station Road (but NOT Shore Road) on the next Sunday (23 Aug) to facilitate final resurfacing of the end nearest the works. It is still not clear when the scheme will be completely finished, but the opening of both lanes each way will be the most significant date for road users.

28 Jun 2015: All traffic on the online section of the new road (i.e. between Ulster University, Jordanstown and Station Road, Greenisland) was switched onto the future citybound carriageway on or before Thursday morning, 25th June. The future northbound carriageway is now open only for access to property. The switchover is presumably to allow finishing works on the northbound carriageway, and in particular on the three new roundabouts on this stretch. The switchover appears to have led to significant traffic congestion, with tailbacks back to the roundabout at Whiteabbey on the first day. The reason for these jams is not certain, but Andy Boal observed that the Station Road traffic lights in Greenisland were  operating on a three-set sequence, meaning that there is a green light for northbound traffic, then a green for southbound (partly overlapping perhaps) and then a green for Station Road. This is different from the normal two-set sequence where both northbound and southbound traffic get a green light simultaneously. This is likely because there is now no space for a right-turn lane into Station Road, so a single turning vehicle would block the road. However, it also leads to a significant loss of capacity at this junction and hence long traffic jams were likely. Today, however, the junction seemed to have a dedicated right turn lane, so hopefully this situation will not go on for too long. Thanks also to David Manderson, Chris Buchanan, Philip Griffiths and Andrew McKeever for information on this. The DRD web site is now giving an anticipated completion date of August 2015, so on this basis we're probably within two months of completion.

8 Jun 2015: The offline section of dual-carriageway, from Station Road in Greenisland to the PSNI station at Seapark, opened to traffic early on Tuesday, 2 June. Initially it is operating with one lane open each way and a 30mph speed limit. Eventually this stretch will have two lanes each way and a 50mph speed limit. The bypassed stretch of Shore Road is now accessible only from the north-east end (except for buses who will be able to access it from the Belfast end) and is probably had its quietest week for half a century. Some people shared photos of the opened stretch on Twitter, like this one from Shane McKee, while Alan Dodridge treated us all to this video taken traveling countrybound, starting at Station Road and ending at Seapark (here is the link if the embedded video does not work). The road veers away from the original line of Shore Road at 0:16, while the car passes under Whinfield Lane Bridge at 1:17, and reaches the unfinished Seapark roundabout at 1:55. Thanks to everyone who shared images and videos, and also to the contractor for such a great job.

29 May 2015: Just a very quick update to alert you all to some great aerial pictures that were taken by Paul from Elevated Image NI from a drone last weekend, showing the new roundabout under construction at Seapark (very north end of the scheme), and shared here on Twitter. Paul has photoshopped out the police station for the obvious security reasons, but you can see the extra arm on the roundabout that leads into the entrance of the police station. The aerial shot suggests that the roundabout is now surfaced, and it is likely that traffic will be diverted onto it before too long. Completion of the whole scheme is expected in the early summer, although it is likely that there will be ongoing works to finish up loose ends and carry out finishing touches for some weeks after that.

5 May 2015: Coming hot on the heels of the previous update (see below), this one is also to bring you photos. The first five are images that were taken by Alan Dodridge at Seapark roundabout at the very north-east end of the scheme on 3 May. This is the point where the offline section of dual-carriageway swings back to rejoin the existing Shore Road. It is also the only conventional (ie non-signalised) roundabout on the entire scheme. Alan has put a whole set of pictures here, and five are reproduced below with his permission. The last two pictures were taken by yours truly on the same day at the Jordanstown end showing work progressing on the future citybound carriageway.


Pic 1: View north-east across the future Seapark Roundabout on 3 May 2015. In the foreground is the island between the two carriageways of the offline stretch of new road which heads off to the left. Straight ahead is the future entrance to the PSNI station, currently under construction. On the right is the central island of the roundabout. [Alan Dodridge]

Pic 2: View towards Carrickfergus on 3 May 2015 along the existing Shore Road which is being modified here to meet the new Seapark roundabout, which the photographer is standing on. On the left is the temporary wall around the PSNI station. [Alan Dodridge]

Pic 3: A small stream flows beneath Seapark roundabout, and is accommodated in a culvert (seen under construction in March 2014 in this shot). Now the culvert is completed and carrying the stream, and this shot shows it sporting a brand spanking new trash screen on 3 May 2015. A trash screen catches large debris, like tree branches, that could otherwise get clogged up inside the culvert. [Alan Dodridge]

Pic 4: View towards the entrance to the PSNI station from Seapark roundabout on 3 May 2015. The PSNI are getting a brand new entrance building thanks to the need to demolish the old one to make way for the roundabout. [Alan Dodridge]

Pic 5: View south west along the offline section of dual-carriageway on 3 May 2015. Although practically complete, even down to white lining and cats-eyes - it remains frustratingly out of use due to the fact that it terminates at Seapark roundabout which is still under construction. [Alan Dodridge]

Pic 6: View north-east, towards Carrickfergus, from the centre of the University of Ulster roundabout on 3 May 2015. All traffic is currently using the northbound carriageway (on the left) while the southbound carriageway (on the right) looks close to completion, albeit with its final surfacing still having to go down. The poles are now in place for the traffic signals that will eventually control this roundabout which exists as a roundabout primarily to allow u-turns for landowners along the route who will no longer be able to turn right from their driveways thanks to the continuous central reservation. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 7: Same location as previously, but looking south-west instead, ie towards Belfast, from the centre of the University of Ulster roundabout on 3 May 2015. All traffic is currently using the northbound carriageway (on the right) while the southbound carriageway (on the left) again looks close to completion [Wesley Johnston]

28 Apr 2015: If the scheme is on schedule, then we are within two months of completion. This update is to bring you three photos which were taken by Shay Sweetnam from Knockagh hill around two weeks ago, and show work on the offline section between Greenisland and Seapark. You can see the completed Whinfield Lane bridge, and this view highlights how narrow it is (since it merely provides access to a handful of properties). Hopefully the coming weeks will see the scheme moving towards opening of the new stretches of road.


The offline section of the scheme seen from Knockagh in early April 2015. Greenisland is to the right, and Seapark is on the left with Whinfield Lane bridge just left of centre. [Shay Sweetnam]

Closeup of Whinfield Lane bridge seen from Knockagh in early April 2015. Whinfield Lane has been diverted up onto the bridge which was built just to the south of the original lane. The original lane ran to the left of the bridge in this view, close to the line of trees, and has now been removed. [Shay Sweetnam]

Closeup of Seapark - the very north end of the scheme - seen from Knockagh in early April 2015. Behind the trees on the left is the PSNI station, whose entrance gate has been demolished to make way for the new roundabout that is taking shape in the centre of the frame. The new, as yet unopened, offline section of dual-carriageway can be seen running to the lower right, with the house marking the location of the existing Shore Road which will remain in situ. [Shay Sweetnam]

11 Mar 2015: On 5 March we passed the second anniversary of the commencement of construction. According to a Question for Written Answer in the Assembly last week, this scheme is now due to be completed "in late summer 2015", which I would take to mean around August, ie about 5 months from now, so we're more than 80% completed. The main change from the point of view of the travelling public has been the introduction of a contraflow at Seapark (at the north end of the scheme). This has meant all traffic using the citybound carriageway between Trooperslane and the site of the former entrance to the PSNI station at Seapark. This former entrance now appears to have been removed, and has been replaced with an enormous temporary fence. You can see both this and the contraflow in this sequence of pictures taken by Alan Dodridge on 8th March. These works all permit the construction of the final roundabout of the scheme, and indeed the only one that will operate as a conventional roundabout, ie without traffic lights. With thanks to Andrew McKeever for information.

28 Feb 2015: No photos with this update, but work continues to advance steadily. In fact, according to a recent press release, the contractor has now clocked up half a million working hours. To put that in perspective, if I had been building this scheme on my own, even working 12 hours a day, 7 days per week I would have already spent over 114 years on the site! The offline section of road between Greenisland and Seapark (at the PSNI station) is now basically completed, and only awaiting the completion of Seapark roundabout - without which is is inaccessible. This was delayed pending the decommissioning of the entrance to the PSNI station (which is inconveniently in the way) which finally happened around mid February following the opening of a temporary entrance onto Trooperslane. Since the Seapark roundabout is mostly offline (ie off to one side of the current road) work is likely to be fairly straightforward. Work is also well advanced on the citybound carriageway with surfacing going town around the entrance to the University in mid February. With thanks to Andrew McKeever for his observations. Work still seems on schedule for completion in the early summer.

5 Jan 2015: The purpose of this update is to bring you photos of two parts of the scheme. The first is a set of photos taken on the offline section around Whinfield Lane by Alan Dodridge on 22 December. They are part of a set of 43 photos on his Flickr page, but I reproduce six here with his permission. They show that Whinfield Lane bridge is now finally completed, and that the offline section is also essentially completed with vegetation planting works going on along the verges, one of the last tasks. The second is a set of three photos taken by Andrew Fleming in mid December showing the site of the future roundabout at the University of Ulster. Thank you both! Now for the pics...

Pic 1: View north-east (towards Carrickfergus) on the offline section of dual-carriageway between Station Road and Seapark on 22 Dec 2014. Showing the Whinfield Road bridge completed. It carries a laneway to maintain access to properties to the left here. The huge concrete pipe section in the foreground may protect an open manhole, or it may just be lying there, but as I wasn't with Alan I cannot check! [Alan Dodridge]

Pic 2: View south-west (towards Belfast) from Whinfield Lane on 22 Dec showing the offline section of dual-carriageway completed and surfaced, and presmably just awaiting completion of the link sections at either end. [Alan Dodridge]


Pic 3: View south-east across the completed Whinfield Lane bridge which appears to be in use on 22 Dec. As you can see, it is only one lane wide, which is quite sufficient given that it only gives access to three homes and some fields. [Alan Dodridge]

Pic 4: View north-east along (towards Carrickfergus) from Whinfield Lane bridge on 22 Dec showing the offline section of dual-carriageway completed and surfaced. On the left some trees have been planted, while on the right various plants and hedging has been planted. The gap in the kerbstones in the foreground is the route of the original Whinfield Lane, now closed. [Alan Dodridge]

Pic 5: Closeup of the end of a piece of wire-tensioned crash barrier. You can see how the cables are anchored to a large concrete block in the ground and are then passed through each post. This means that, when impacted by a vehicle, the stress of the impact is passed along the cables. This reduces the chances of the vehicle going clean through the barrier onto the opposite carriageway, and allows the wire to remain intact to guide the vehicle to a controlled halt. Note in particular how the bottom two cables weave back and forth around alternate sides of the posts. 22 December 2014. [Alan Dodridge]

Pic 6: Two holes in the road surface near Whinfield Lane. These are roughly 10cm across and mark where samples of tarmac have been removed after laying. This is a routine procedure: the samples will be taken to a lab to be tested to confirm that the tarmac has been laid to the required standard. The holes will be filled in. 22 December 2014. [Alan Dodridge]

The site of the future roundabout at the University of Ulster on 16 December 2014, showing all traffic passing round the inland side of the future roundabout. Taken from the UU entrance road with the passing cars on the Shore Road. The lorry is parked on the future citybound carriageway which is still a worksite as it is being reconstructed. [Andrew Fleming]


This view north-east towards the site of the UU roundabout shows more clearly how all vehicles are currently passing round the inland side of the future roundabout.  When finished both lanes shown here will be countrybound and where the PSNI vehicles are will be a signalised roundabout. 16 Dec 2014. [Andrew Fleming]

Looking south west, the opposite direction to the previous photo, this is the point where the upgraded road ties into the existing four lane Shore Road towards Whiteabbey. On the left is Loughshore Park and the road is being resurfaced after the kerb has been realigned. The bus turning circle that used to be here seems to have disappeared. 18 Dec 2014. [Andrew Fleming]

23 Nov 2014: Three weeks ago, on 2 November 2014, Alan Dodridge took a set of 15 photos showing various locations along this scheme. He has put them all online here, but I reproduce five here with his permission (thank you). Sorry for the delay, which was due to the pressures of life! Pictures 1 and 2 show similar views looking north-east along the Shore Road from close to Shorelands. They show the original Shore Road on the right, now out of use (except for access to properties). On the left is the future northbound carriageway, now completed and temporarily carrying all traffic. Work is now well underway here to reconstruct the original Shore Road to become the future southbound carriageway, a job that should not be as time-consuming as building the northbound carriageway since a road is already here and less significant earthworks are required. The third picture shows lots of steel reinforcing bars (rebar) being stored on site, suggesting further retaining structures are still to be built. The fourth picture shows the Station Road junction in Greenisland. This will eventually be a signalised roundabout, but for now all traffic is being diverted round the north-western side of the future roundabout via the rather awkward curve shown here. The final picture shows the point where the on-line section of the Shore Road diverts through the site of the former Spar shop onto the offline section. The offline section is largely completed, but not yet open since its terminus at Seapark (ie the police station) is not yet completed. In this photo, it looks as if the cars are heading off onto the online section, but they are actually diverted back through the works along the line of cones, back onto the existing Shore Road. On the offline section, the last I heard was that the road deck is now being constructed on the Whinfield Lane overbridge, which will soon allow Whinfield Lane to be diverted onto the bridge. Construction of the Seapark terminus - to be a conventional roundabout - requires a temporary entrance to be built for the police station onto Old Shore Road here. To ensure fast access onto the Shore Road from this temporary entrance for emergency vehicles, it has required the installation of traffic signals on the Shore Road at Trooperslane. These may be intended to be temporary, but don't be surprised if they become permanent now that the DRD has gone to all the trouble of building them! The scheme is now seven months away from its expected completion, and so far progress seems to be in line with this timetable.


Pic 1: View north-east along Shore Road on 2 November 2014 with all traffic using the completed northbound carriageway on the left, while the old road on the right is reconstructed to become the future southbound carriageway. [Alan Dodridge]

Pic 2: Similar view to Pic 1, looking north-east along Shore Road on 2 November 2014, but this time taken from the old road that is now closed (except to allow access for residents). [Alan Dodridge]

Pic 3: Lots of no-nonsense steel reinforcement bars lying in wait, presumably to become part of concrete structures such as retaining walls. [Alan Dodridge]

Pic 4: View north-east along Shore Road at the Station Road junction in Greenisland on 2 November 2014. The photographer is on the old road, now closed, while all traffic uses the future northbound carriageway on the left. The junction ahead will eventually be a signalised roundabout but for now is operating as a standard signalised T-junction. [Alan Dodridge]

Pic 5: View north-east along Shore Road, Greenisland, at the point where the completed dual-carriageway will head off inland (on the left). Vehicles are driving on the first hundred yards or so of the offline section, but are then being diverted along behind the cones back onto the old Shore Road again, on the right ahead. [Alan Dodridge]

31 Oct 2014: A second section of the new northbound carriageway opened to traffic last night (30 October). This is the 500 metre stretch from Shorelands to Station Road - the section from the University of Ulster to Shorelands opened in late July. This means that for the entire "online" section of the scheme, all traffic is now using the new northbound carriageway, while the southbound carriageway is built. (You may find the maps further up this page useful if you're not familiar with the scheme.) The offline section of dual-carriageway between Station Road and Seapark is largely completed, but not yet opened as it has not yet been tied into the existing road at either end. The scheme still seems to be on course for completion in June 2014. With thanks to Andy Boal and Andrew McKeever who let me know about this opening last night.

14 Aug 2014: The new section of northbound carriageway opened on or before 24th July as anticipated in the last update. The three photos below were taken by Owen Fulton on 28 July 2014 (only being put up now as I was on holiday) and show traffic using the new northbound carriageway from the start of the scheme close to the University of Ulster to around 500 metres before the Station Road junction. If you are affected by the scheme, don't forget to bookmark the official site for daily details of traffic arrangements.


Traffic using the future northbound carriageway on 28 July 2014, but still passing straight through what will be the future roundabout at University of Ulster (seen here). [Owen Fulton]


View north-east along Shore Road from around Neill's Lane showing traffic using the future northbound carriageway on 28 July 2014. The road on the other side of the central reservation was in use until the switchover and will now be reconstructed to become the southbound carriageway. Note the telegraph poles still in-situ in the central reservation - these will presumably be removed. [Owen Fulton]


View south-west along Shore Road from near Shorelands showing the same stretch of road in the previous photo, but from the opposite end. The road in the foreground was carrying all traffic until late July, and will now be reconstructed to become the southbound carriageway. It appears to be still partly in use, presumably to retain access to properties. [Owen Fulton]

16 Jul 2014: This update includes photos taken about two weeks ago by Owen Fulton. The first four photos show that the northbound (Carrick-bound) carriageway of the new dual-carriageway largely complete from the University of Ulster at the south end up to around Shorelands, ie about 500 metres before you reach Station Road in the middle of Greenisland village. Since these pictures were taken road markings have been put down on this carriageway, suggesting that all traffic will be shifted over onto it in the near future, and I am told that this will be on 24th July. This will allow the future southbound carriageway to be built. The 500 metre stretch of northbound carriageway between Shorelands and Station Road is less advanced, suggesting traffic won't divert onto it quite as soon. Work has started on the two roundabouts at Station Road and Shorelands, with traffic off to one side to facilitate this. The fifth picture shows the start of the new offline section of dual-carriageway (ie where the new road is being built through open countryside leaving the existing Shore Road unchanged), showing that this too is coming on well. In terms of junctions, the new roundabout at the University of Ulster is well advanced, but still not functioning as a roundabout. The offline section of road itself, seen in the last photograph, seems to be largely completed except that there is still much to be done at the fourth (and last) roundabout that will re-join it to the existing Shore Road at the police station at Seapark. The project has been underway now for 16 months with about 11 months left to run, and seems to be on schedule. With thanks to Owen Fulton, Andy Boal, Ciaran O'Flaherty and Philip Griffiths for information for this update.


Pic 1: View north east along the future northbound carriageway at Langley Hall, circa 30 June 2014. This is the same view before work began. [Owen Fulton]

Pic 2: Just a short distance beyond the previous image, this is the view north east along the future northbound carriageway at Silverstream Banks, circa 30 June 2014. This is the same view before work began. [Owen Fulton]

Pic 3: Moving on to Neills Lane, and turning round this is the view along the future northbound carriageway looking south west towards Belfast on circa 30 June 2014. This is the same view before work began. [Owen Fulton]

Pic 4: At Shorelands, traffic has now been diverted into a circular path around the site of the future roundabout which will presumably now get underway. This is the view north west from the Shore Road along Shorelands, seen circa 30 June 2014. This is the same view before work began, showing how the large earth bank has been cut back and replaced by the huge retaining wall. [Owen Fulton]

Pic 5: View north east from Shore Road onto the future northbound carriageway of the offline section of road, circa 30 June 2014. For those who remember it, this used to be the car park of the Spar shop - now demolished, but with the advertising signage still in place, as you can see in this photo of the car park before work began. [Owen Fulton]

Pic 6: The offline section of road is very advanced as seen here looking south west (ie towards Belfast) from Whinfield Lane circa 30 June 2014. Since the last update in April, the road surface has been laid on almost this entire stretch. The bridge (which will carry the diverted Whinfield Lane) has had its two beams in place since March, but nothing much seems to happened since then. [Owen Fulton]

21 Apr 2014: Ten days ago, on 11 April, I had the privilege of site tour of the A2 Greenisland scheme. I am indebted to Roy Spiers, Basil Hassard and Hamish Bennet for giving me their time, for access to various parts of the site and for explaining everything in such detail - thank you. One benefit of the visit is that I was allowed to take pictures, ten of which I am sharing here - you will see from the pictures below that I was able to see the huge amount of progress on the offline section north of Greenisland village, where the tarmac road surface is being put down in one location. I was also shown the online section south of and through Greenisland village, where the stone road base for the future northbound carriageway is now in place in several locations. The whole scheme seems to be on schedule. The pictures below are arranged in order from south to north (Belfast end to Carrickfergus end).


Pic 1: Looking north east along the future northbound carriageway, just south of Shorelands, on 11 Apr 2014. Although this just looks like a general works site, this is actually the precisely-laid gravel road base over which tarmac will be laid. The blue rods on the right with the yellow tops are used for accurately measuring the level of the gravel to ensure it is flat. Same view before work began. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 2: The view along 'Shorelands' on 11 Apr 2014 towards the Shore Road. Work has begun here to construct the signalised roundabout that will replace the existing T-junction. Traffic on Shorelands has been shifted to the left. A large number of electrical, water and gas cables are being excavated and relocated. Same view before work began. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 3: View north east along Shore Road north of Shorelands on 11 Apr 2014. Work here is not quite so advanced as above - the cables and posts, for example, still have to be moved. In the foreground are new retaining walls being built for the houses on the left, most of which are owned by DRD. Similar view before work began. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 4: View south west towards the Station Road / Shore Road junction on 11 Apr 2014 - barely visible behind the yellow sign. This is taken from the northbound carriageway of the offline section of the road, where the Spar shop used to be, from roughly here. The road base is well advanced here, and on the rest of the offline stretch. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 5: Heavy plant machinery being used to lay tarmac on the offline stretch near Greenisland on 11 Apr 2014. The tarmac was being laid in two or three layers, depending on the location. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 6: Road roller compacting freshly laid tarmac on the offline stretch on 11 Apr 2014. Note the holes in the far kerb - this is special kerbing which doubles as a drainage duct, negating the need for conventional metal grilles in the road surface. It was previously used on the A20 Newtownards Southern Distributor. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 7: View south west along the offline stretch of dual-carriageway from Whinfield Lane bridge on 11 Apr 2014. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 8: The new Whinfield Lane bridge had its two beams in place on 11 Apr 2014, and the approach embankments largely built up. The next step will be to add the bridge deck and then construct the road over the top. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 9: View north east from Whinfield Lane bridge on 11 Apr 2014. The existing Whinfield Lane can be seen running left-right in the foreground and is still in use by the private residents of the lane. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 10: At the very north end of the scheme, at Seapark, this large culvert was being constructed on 11 Apr 2014. It will carry a stream which, thanks to the dry weather, can currently be accommodated in the pipe running along the wall on the left! [Wesley Johnston]

OLDER UPDATES before April 2014 have now been moved to the archive.

Design of the New Road

The exact design of the road will depend on the location. The "offline" section would see the road built to rural dual-carriageway standard with a total width of 27 metres. The "online" section would reduce this to 22 metres to ease the impact on properties. Local traffic will only be permitted to turn left on and off the road except for a few key junctions. People who wish to turn right from driveways will turn left and then turn round at the next junction. The junctions will all be traffic-light-controlled roundabouts which perform better than the more basic priority roundabouts when the main flow of traffic is "straight on". The road will have a 40mph speed limit. Other options such as building the offline option in a cutting to reduce noise were rejected as they would require even more land. Possibilities of building the road through the grounds of the University of Ulster and through the sea on a causeway were also rejected.

A person who lives on the route told me that the Roads Service had in years gone by explored the idea of building the road on the sea side by reclaiming the beach, but that this idea was abandoned after uproar from the residents. This was tried in Whiteabbey, where the A2 was moved onto the beach, and it has had a very negative effect on the shoreline area. Widening the A2 through Greenisland is also destructive, and so most of the residents seem to prefer the inland option which would re-route the road about 200 metres inland and leave the Shore Road intact. The Public Inquiry is likely to be a lively affair.

Photos From Before Work Began

Part of the daily evening traffic jam on the 2 lane section of the A2 approaching Greenisland. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]

At the centre of the village, the number of mature trees and large houses close to the road is apparent. This picture was taken in winter when the trees were bare, but the road looks well in summer. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]

The A2 running through the centre of Greenisland village. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]

Another view of the A2, looking back to Belfast showing the houses at the shore. More recent housing developments, such as the one off frame to the right, were built with the widening in mind, as you can see from the wide grass verge. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]