A6 Dualling Dungiven to Londonderry

 

Status
Construction scheme (current)
Contractor
Sacyr, Wills Bros and Somague consortium
Scheme
New high-quality dual-carriageway to replace the existing single-carriageway A6 from Dungiven to Drumahoe, including a bypass around the south side of Dungiven (Phase 1) and then from Drumahoe to the A2 at Gransha, and an upgrade of the existing A2 dual-carriageway from Caw to Maydown (Phase 2).
Total Length
30.0 km / 18.8 miles
Dates

Mar 2005 - Pilot study to select route from Castledawson to Derry announced.

Dec 2005 - Funding announced to build section from Dungiven to Derry.

Feb 2007 - Preliminary route corridor selected.

May 2008 - Five route options published.

6 May 2009 - Preferred route announced.

14 Dec 2011 - Draft legal documents published.
Jan 2012 - Public exhibitions.

24 Sep 2012 to 2 Oct 2012 - Public Inquiry held.

ca End Mar 2013 - Inspector submitted Public Inquiry report.

24 Feb 2016 - Departmental Statement published.

21 Feb 2017 - Construction tender released.

15 Aug 2017 - Vesting Order "made".
28 Mar 2018 - Contract awarded for Dungiven to Drumahoe section (phase 1).

(changed from "after 2015" as of Jan 2011, and "early 2013" as of Jul 2010).

26 Sep 2018 - Sod-cutting ceremony
Spring 2022 - Anticipated completion

Cost

£390-420m (as of Nov 2014) for whole scheme

(of which £220m for phase 1, Dungiven to Drumahoe) as of Mar 2018

(Changed from £230-255m for phase 1 as of Nov 2014; £350-390m as of Mar 2011; £320-390m as of Dec 2009; £320m as of Dec 2008 £300m as of Jun 2008 and £250 million as of 2005)

Photos
See below.
See Also

General area map.
Contractor's web site on scheme

DFI web site on scheme - very detailed information and reports.

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

This major project was first announced on 13 December 2005 by the Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain as part of a larger investment package for the city of Derry. It will see a dual-carriageway bypass of Dungiven town and dualling of the existing A6 from there to the A2 on the north-eastern periphery of Derry city. The road will be build to a high quality with two lanes each way, no breaks in the central barrier and fully grade separated junctions (ie flyovers). Plans announced in 2004 for a single-carriageway bypass of Dungiven at a cost of £11.1m were subsumed by this much larger scheme, although the preliminary work done was still useful. The map below shows the section of the A6 affected by this upgrade which finally got underway in spring 2018:

Route

The chosen route closely follows the existing A6, but generally off to one side apart from an onlien section around Burntollet. At the Derry end it heads inland and bypasses Drumahoe well to the north, terminating on the A2 at Caw. At the eastern end it bypasses Dungiven to the south. The most recent plan was published in February 2016 and is accessible here:

Strip Junction Map

This is a strip map of the design that was published in May 2009, and is still correct as of the updated design published in February 2016. Note that the design may change between this map and construction due to the evolution of the design, and the public inquiry.


WEST

Begins on A2 dual-carriageway, Derry

2+2 lanes

STRADREAGH
or GRANSHA

 

A2 Clooney

Road

(into Derry)

 Local access  

 A2 Clooney

 Road

 (to Limavady)


5.3 km / 3.3 miles - 2+2 lanes

LISMACAROL ROUNDABOUT
(DRUMAHOE)

A?? Glenshane

Road

(existing A6)

(into Derry).

 Tirbracken

 Road

 
2.8 km / 1.7 miles - 2+2 lanes

TAMNAHERIN ROAD

(THE CROSS)

 

Local access

Local access

 Tamnaherin

 Road


2.0 km / 1.2 miles - 2+2 lanes

ARDMORE ROAD
(BURNTOLLET)

Westbound access only.

 

 Faughan River

 Ardmore Road

.

 Burntollet

 Bridge

 

.

 
2.5 km / 1.6 miles - 2+2 lanes

KILLALOO

(GULF ROAD)

B74 Glenshane

Road

(Claudy west)

 Gulf Road
 

2.5 km / 1.5 miles - 2+2 lanes

BARANAILT ROAD
(
CLAUDY) 

B69 Baranailt

Road (into

Claudy)

 B69 Baranailt

 Road (towards

 Limavady)

 
13.0 km / 8.1 miles - 2+2 lanes

FEENY ROAD

(DUNGIVEN WEST)

B74 Feeny

Road

 B74 Feeny

 Road (into

 Dungiven)


2.5 km / 1.6 miles - 2+2 lanes

MAGHERABUOY ROUNDABOUT
(DUNGIVEN EAST)

 

 B? Glenshane

 Road

 (existing A6;

 into Dungiven)

 Local access

 

EAST

Terminates as single-carriageway
A6 towards Belfast

1 lane each way

Updates

22 Dec 2020: This is a brief update to report on the significant change at Burntollet, where traffic was switched onto the northern half of the new bridge overnight on 18/19 December. Traffic was also switched onto the future eastbound carriageway from Burntollet all the way to the future Killaloo junction, a distance of about 2.5 km. This marks a significant milestone in this confined part of the scheme. The next step, as summarised in Pic 1 below, will be to demolish the existing 20th century (1950s) bridge and then build the southern half of the new bridge. There are two photos below showing the new layout, taken by Alan Lynas. But before we come to the photos, I need to share links to some superb third party material:

  • Superb drone footage taken by Sky Photography, showing the route from Liberty Glen (near the Belfray) to Burntollet, a few days before the switch-over happened.
  • A series of lovely aerial photos by Aerial Vision NI of the stretch of the A6 from Dungiven to Foreglen.
  • Footage taken from a car by Diarmaid Macfheargail showing Burntollet. The first part of the video is taken travelling towards Derry before the switch-over. The second part of the video is taken travelling towards Belfast after the switch-over and crossing the new bridge, and then travelling about 5 km further east past Killaloo to near Claudy! The smooth vertical alignment of the new Burntollet Bridge means it's easy to miss it in the movie! With thanks to Paul McCloskey for flagging this video.

Pic 1: The stages of work at Burntollet Bridge. We have just completed stage (3). The next phase, which I would expect to see in January 2021, will be stage (4), the demolition of the 1950s bridge.

Pic 2: View of the first half of Burntollet Bridge open and in use on 20 December 2020. This was very fast work, given that the approach embankments were barely started six weeks ago. Well done to the contractor. [Alan Lynas]

Pic 3: Same location as pic 2, but looking towards Derry. All traffic is using the future eastbound carriageway. The old A6 ran where the digger is, and hugging the trees beyond. This line has now been excavated and dropped down in height by a couple of metres in order to give a better vertical alignment for the future westbound carriageway. [Alan Lynas]

8 Dec 2020: In this update there is more material than you can shake a stick at. We have several aerial videos, so many in fact that I am not able to provide a commentary on them this time. After the video links I then include a series of photographs with captions that detail a bit more about what is happening. Thank you to everyone who sends photos; this scheme really has attracted a huge amount of interest. So first, the videos:

Four taken on 22 Nov 2020, by the amazing Benbradagh:
  • Movie 1 – from the east side of Dungiven to Derrychrier Road, west of the town.
  • Movie 2 - from the batching plant at Derrychrier Road, through Ovil Hill cutting, to near Ballyhanedin Road.
  • Movie 3 - from Ballyhanedin Road to just after Baranailt Road, Claudy.
  • Movie 4 - from just west of Baranailt Road, Claudy, past Burntollet, to the terminus of the scheme at Drumahoe.

And a more recent movie taken on 6 Dec 2020, also by Benbradagh:

  • Movie 5 - travelling east from Killunaught Road (near Foreglen, just east of Ovil Hill cutting) to Chapel Road, Dungiven.

Some particular news that is worth highlighting:

  • At Ardmore Road bridge, a side road near Burntollet, beams have been lifted into place over the past week.
  • Tamnaherin Road, a side road about 2km west of Burntollet, will be closed to traffic at the current A6 from 4 January for 4 months, to allow work to take place on the new bridge for the future junction there.
  • Ballyhanedin Road, on the rural stretch between Foreglen and Claudy, will also be closed to traffic at the current A6 from 4 January, for 6-and-a-half months, to allow work on the new bridge that will carry it over the new road.

And now on to the photographs. As usual, these are arranged in order from the Derry end and moving towards Dungiven.


Pic 1: The "temporary" terminus of the scheme at Drumahoe on 1 Dec 2020. The new Lismacarol roundabout is complete, but not operating as a roundabout yet, with traffic being diverted round one side of it for the time being. The Park-and-Ride is also completed but not yet in use. Some blacktop is also being laid on the future westbound offslip. [AerialVisionNI]


Pic 2: Similar view to the previous shot, but moving slightly east to show McCay's accommodation overbridge on 1 Dec 2020, which appears to be completed. The original access laneway is still in place beyond it. The cutting here appears to have been planted with grass and native trees. [AerialVisionNI]


Pic 3: It is hard to see progress at Liberty Glen (at the Belfray) from the main road, but this photo on 1 Dec 2020 confirms that work is well underway on what will be the longest bridge on the whole scheme. It will consist of three separate spans with two sets of five intermediate pillars well advanced, and work also underway on the abutments. [AerialVisionNI]


Pic 4: This ground-level shot of Liberty Glen bridge was taken on 1 Dec 2020. The person in yellow high-vis shows how tall these pillars are. [Arthur Ming]


Pic 5: This view looking south-east from above Liberty Glen shows earthworks underway on the future dual-carriageway towards the future Tamnaherin Road junction on 1 Dec 2020. The existing A6 here will remain in situ for local access. [AerialVisionNI]


Pic 6: The site of the future Tamnaherin Road junction on 1 Dec 2020. All traffic is being diverted round the site while piling takes place for the new underbridge that will carry Tamnaherin Road beneath the new road. In January Tamnaherin Road (going off to the left) will be closed to allow work on the approach cutting. [AerialVisionNI]


Pic 7: View east towards Burntollet from Tamnaherin Road on 1 Dec 2020. The earthworks are on the route of the original A6, but all traffic is currently being diverted onto the new Ervery link road, visible on the left here, to allow construction of The Oaks accommodation bridge (the black patch beyond the diggers). [AerialVisionNI]


Pic 8: Burntollet Bridge as seen on 1 Dec 2020, with the deck of the northern half of the new bridge well underway. The word on the street is that this half of the bridge is due to be completed by the end of the year. At this point, traffic will likely to be switched onto it to allow the 1950s bridge to be demolished. On the extreme left you can see one of the abutments for the Ardmore Road bridge over the Faughan River. Since this photo was taken the beams have been placed on this bridge. [AerialVisionNI]


Pic 9: View of Burntollet Bridge on 29 Nov 2020, showing that the embankments on either side have been significantly built up over the course of November, to the height needed to construct the road over. [Alan Lynas]


Pic 10: View east from Burntollet on 1 Dec 2020, showing the large cutting that has been needed to widen the road here. The steep drop into the River Faughan on the right shows why the cutting was needed. The future eastbound carriageway has been surfaced for a long distance – traffic could be transferred onto this section of road and over the Burntollet Bridge soon, perhaps by January. [AerialVisionNI]


Pic 11: Gulf Road (Killaloo) junction as seen looking east on 1 Dec 2020, with blacktop laid on long stretches into the distance. The pattern of sliproads is clearly evident here, but work on the bridge is not very advanced due to the awkward position of the current A6 here. I suspect the plan here is to divert traffic onto a stretch of the new carriageway here, to allow the other bridge abutment to be built. The existing A6 will remain in situ here, but it will be reduced in width to serve as a minor access road. [AerialVisionNI]


Pic 12: Superb aerial shot of the Baranailt Road (Claudy) junction on 1 Dec 2020 showing the largely-completed underbridge, as well as the earthworks for the westbound sliproads in the foreground. From here to Dungiven the existing A6 will remain as a B-classified local road running parallel to the new road. [AerialVisionNI]


Pic 13: Gortilea Bridge sitting in splendid isolation on 1 Dec 2020. This photo reveals why nothing much seems to be happening - the area of brown earth to the left of the bridge seems to have vertical drains sticking out of it. That suggests that the ground here has been surcharged with extra material to encourage the soft ground to settle. It will have to remain like this for a period of months until movement stops before the approach embankment can be completed. [AerialVisionNI]


Pic 14: The site of the future Ballyhanedin Road overbridge on 1 Dec 2020 (where all the yellow vehicles are). The new A6 runs beside, and at a lower elevation than, the old A6. Ballynahedin Road, which runs at 45° here, will be closed in January until the summer to allow the new bridge and its approach embankment to be completed. Two culverts for a local watercourse are also evident here. [AerialVisionNI]

Not shown in this sequence of photos is Killunaught Road, near Foreglen, where work on the new overbridge also seems to now be underway. It can be seen in Movie 5, linked at the top of this update.


Pic 15: View of the completed Owenrigh River Bridge and the Magheramore Road overbridge on 28 Nov 2020. It looks as if Magheramore Road overbridge is largely completed, so the next step will be to reinstate the road over it and remove the temporary road beside it. The cutting here has been landscaped with grass and trees. Beyond the cutting is the site of the River Roe bridge, seen below. [Les Ross]


Pic 16: A lovely shot of the work underway on the River Roe bridge, near Dungiven, on 28 Nov 2020. This bridge, like the one at Liberty Glen, consists of three spans and is at quite a height above the river on soft ground, hence the huge amount of work needed. The embankment on the far side looks like a ski jump, but this is an illusion! [Les Ross]

15 Nov 2020: Work has progressed very well over the past two months, and continues to attract a lot of interest from the travelling public. There is now only about a year-and-a-half until the scheme is completed, so we are well past the half-way point. Below I present 16 photos with thanks to the prolific Paul McCloskey, as well as the Burntollet reporter-in-situ Alan Lynas - thank you both! - and the DFI. In addition, there are a couple of aerial movies that I link to at appropriate points. The photos are are arranged in order from east (Dungiven end) to west (Derry end).


Pic 1: Work now appears to have begun on Magherabuoy roundabout, which is where the scheme will begin, at the east side of Dungiven. This is the view actross the existing A6 on 8 Nov 2020 towards the site works now underway. You can see an aerial view of the site here – Magherabuoy roundabout being on the right hand side. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 2: Priory Lane, which gives access to Dungiven Priory, is currently closed but will be re-routed over the new bridge. This is the new road under construction on 8 Nov 2020. You can see the bridge in this aerial view, visible by the pink waterproof course on the bridge deck. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 3: Work on the future River Roe bridge, which is a complex structure on challenging ground, underway on 8 Nov 2020 with the western bridge piers and abutments looking close to completion. Work on the eastern piers and abutment is less advanced. We could see a beam lift here before the end of the winter. You can see an aerial view of the bridge here. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 4: Moving west to Magheramore Road, this is the view north-east across a rather waterlogged site beneath Magheramore Road bridge on 8 Nov 2020. The huge cutting here is complete, with some tree planting apparent too, but less work on the new road itself. [Paul McCloskey]

This is a link to an aerial movie of the whole Dungiven Bypass, starting near the (as yet unbuilt) River Owenbeg bridge at 2:50, passing the site of Feeny Road junction at 3:30, the completed Owenrigh river bridge and adjacent Magheramore Road bridge at 4:10, the (under construction) River Roe bridge at 4:40 and reaching the site of the future Magherabuoy roundabout at 5:15. Note how well-advanced the stretch of dual-carriageway between Feeny Road and Magheramore Road is.

Pic 5: View across the top of the Magheramore Road bridge on 8 Nov 2020, with the bridge deck complete, fencing in place and just awaiting the tarmac! [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 6: View west from Magheramore Road on 8 Nov 2020 showing the new road now being constructed over the completed Owenrigh River bridge, and a very well-developed road snaking off into the distance towards Feeny Road. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 7: Moving further west to Feeny Road, this is the view east (back towards Magheramore Road) beneath the new bridge on 8 Nov 2020. This will eventually be a grade-separated junction. Note more tree planting along the banks here. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 8: Derrychrier Road (Lower Ovil Road) finally re-opened to traffic on 12 Nov 2020. This is it on 13 Nov 2020, with work on the new road evident above. Local resident Esther Harper took a movie of her first drive through it. The length of the underpass (which runs at a skew) bears witness to the width of the new dual-carriageway above. [DFI]

Pic 9: Altagarron Road underpass, near Foreglen, opened to traffic during October. This view was taken on 17 Oct 2020. The bridge at Killunaught Road (half way between Derrychrier Road and Altagarron Road) is not due to open until summer 2021. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 10: Work on Ballyhanedin Road bridge continues at a slow pace, with a bit more work evident on the northern abutment (on the left) since September. This is the view on 8 Nov 2020. A kilometres west of here is Gortilea Road bridge which is completed but not open. The contractor has said that they plan to open the road and bridge in the spring of 2021. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 11: View east along the existing A6 towards the new bridge at Baranailt Road, Claudy, on 8 Nov 2020. The new dual-carriageway will run on the right, a couple of metres higher than the current road, which will be retained only as far as the house on the left, for local access. To get a better idea of the progress on this junction see this aerial movie, with thanks to Sky Photography. Baranailt Road into Claudy is currently closed for reconstruction (at around 1:00 in the video) but is scheduled to reopen at the end of April 2021. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 12: Between Baranailt Road and Killaloo junction motorists have a grandstand view of work on the future dual-carriageway adjacent to the current road, which will be retained for local access. This view is looking east on 8 Nov 2020 showing work well advanced with blacktop in place on long stretches. This is also evident from 2:15 in this movie. Very impressive work here. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 13: Not much has changed at the future Killaloo junction (Gulf Road at Claudy west) on 8 Nov 2020. The southern abutment and central piers are in place, but further work will require traffic to be moved away from the existing road. Gulf Road is due to re-open in autumn 2021, a year from now. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 14: View looking east along the new road not far from Brackfield Bawn, just east of Burntollet on 26 Oct 2020. This shows the new cutting straight ahead, with multiple gullies evident, probably caused by recent heavy rain. It will take time for vegetation to stabilise the soil here. At its base is the future eastbound carriageway with blacktop in place, while all traffic is currently on the old road, in the foreground. Presumably traffic will be moved onto the new stretch of road soon to allow the old road to be reconstructed to become the westbound carriageway. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 15: Three months on from the beam-lift at Burntollet bridge, work has progressed on the deck with concrete being poured during October. This view was taken on 15 Nov 2020. Once the deck is completed, the embankments will need built up at either side to allow the road to be built over the top. Once traffic is using this part of the new bridge, the old bridge (on the right) will be demolished and work will begin on the second half of the bridge. [Alan Lynas]

Pic 16: View west from Burntollet on 15 Nov 2020 – all traffic continues to use the temporary road visible here. Meanwhile the old A6 has now been completely removed as part of work to form the base of the new road. Ardmore Road, which is off-camera to the left here, will be closed at this point on 25 November for twelve months, to allow cosntruction of the new Ardmore Road bridge (at The Oaks). [Alan Lynas]

I have no photos of the Tamnaherin Road or Derry end of the scheme, but the park-and-ride at Drumahoe is now complete and just awaiting a bus service. Work will presumably also begin soon at Liberty Glen, if it has not already done so, as it is the largest bridge structure on the whole scheme.

25 Sep 2020: Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of the sod-cutting ceremony that started the scheme in 2018. With only 18 months left to go, we are now well past the half-way mark and much progress continues to be made. Unfortunately the YouTube aerial videos that I linked to in the previous update (below, 18 Aug) are no longer available, which is a shame. Nevertheless, we have a whole series of photos once again, thanks to Andrew Bratton, Dee Logue, Alan Lynas, Paul McCloskey and Polyanne. Thank you once again. The photos are, as always, arranged in order from Derry towards Dungiven. In other news, the project received another £14.8m of funding (from the COVID emergency fund!) this week. As the project crosses multiple financial years, a budget allocation is needed every year to keep the project funding, though once the contract has been signed such funding is really a given. The contractor has indicated that traffic may be moved onto sections of the new road before Christmas, which would be an exciting moment.


Pic 1: The new park-and-ride facility at Drumahoe very close to completion, as seen on 15 September 2020. The facility will probably open soon, along with the new Lismacarol roundabout on Tirbracken Road. The branding suggests Ulsterbus Goldliners will stop there. [Andrew Bratton]


Pic 2: During the weekend of 18 to 21 September 2020 work was carried out to construct the future alignment of Tirbracken Road, which will lead traffic leaving Derry directly to the new Lismacarol roundabout. This is a line of road surfacing plant machinery waiting to be used on the Saturday of the works, beside the existing Tirbracken Road. [Dee Logue]


Pic 3: Another view of the realignment works taking place on the A6 at Drumahoe on Sunday, 20 September 2020 with surfacing works well underway. The original A6 curves to the right, whereas in the future it will run along the new line straight ahead. Traffic will still use the old alignment for the time being, but will be diverted along here once the new road opens. This is the same view before work began. [Andrew Bratton]


Pic 4: Panorama of the site of the future flyover at Tamnaherin Road on 15 September 2020. The previous landscape here has been completely obliterated, but basically the original A6 ran left-right across the site, with Tamnaherin Road running from roughly where the photographer is standing to join the A6 at a T-junction. Currently all traffic is being diverted around the site on a temporary loop of road behind the camera. The two white sites mark the locations of the two abutments. Piling for these has since begun, as captured in a video by Polyanne on 23 September. [Polyanne]


Pic 5: Since the beam lift at Burntollet six weeks ago, much work has taken place to join the six steel beams together to form the base for the bridge deck. Taken on 9 September 2020. The plan is to complete this half of the bridge, build the approach embankments and divert all traffic onto it, probably in the first half of 2021. [Alan Lynas]


Pic 6: View east towards Killaloo junction (Gulf Road, for Claudy west) on 20 September 2020. The south abutment and central piers have been built, but no work has yet started on the north abutment as the existing A6 is currently occupying the site. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 7: View looking west towards the completed bridge that will carry the new dual-carriageway over Baranailt Road, Claudy on 20 September 2020. The embankment being formed ahead is for both the new road and the westbound sliproad loop which will curve round to join Baranailt Road just to the left here. The patio chair on the right is a nice touch. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 8: Gortilea Road bridge, seen looking across the existing A6 on 6 September 2020. Nothing much has happened here since the bridge was completed in July. At some point a large embankment needs to be built at the far side to allow Gortilea Road (visible going up the hill in a straight line, a feature typical of 18th century roads) to be connected and reopened. The future road will run under the new bridge at a lower elevation. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 9: About 2 km east of Gortilea Road bridge is Ballyhanedin Road Bridge, seen here looking east on 20 September 2020. Not a lot has happened here either, with the central piers built, and both abutments underway. A lot of earthworks are, however, evident in the distance. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 10: This is Altagarran Road underpass as it was on 13 September 2020, now completed but with Altagarran Road still not reopened to traffic. The embankment for the future A6 has now been constructed here, showing how high it rises above the existing landscape at this point. This is the same view before work began. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 11: View east towards Feeny Road overbridge on 13 September 2020. The bridge appears to be largely completed, with the foundations of the dual-carriageway itself now taking shape below it. Traffic may be diverted onto this bridge during the autumn. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 12: View west towards Magheramore Road overbridge, near Dungiven, on 20 September 2020. Taken from the "old" Teeavan Road, which has now been diverted to make way for the enormous cutting that can be seen here. This is the same view before work began. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 13: View from Magheramore Road near Dungiven on 20 September 2020 showing the completed Owenrigh river bridge, sporting its shiny new red waterproofing layer. The alignment of the future road is taking shape beyond. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 14: View looking west from near Beech Green Lane, Dungiven, on 20 September 2020. The white crane visible right of centre is working on the abutments of the future River Roe bridge. It has yet to receive its bridge beams. Magheramore Road bridge can just be seen in the distance. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 15: Looking east from near Beech Green Lane, Dungiven, on 20 September 2020, showing the largely-completed Priory Lane overbridge beyond the cutting. Traffic has yet to be diverted onto this bridge too. [Paul McCloskey]

Older updates can be found in the archive.

Background to Scheme

The Regional Strategic Transport Plan, published in 2004, explained why it was thought that further dualling of the 40km of the A6 beyond Castledawson could not go ahead before 2015:

B3.3.41 When the funding envisaged by RTS is extended to 2015, there would be £529.4m available for Strategic Road Improvements in the RSTN TP period. However, this is fully taken up by the high priority SRIs proposed across the RSTN, including the £171.9m envisaged for SRI schemes on routes serving the North-West. Therefore, within the funding assumptions of this Plan, it would not be realistic to expect that further dualling of the A6 could be undertaken within the Plan period (apart from the Randalstown to Castledawson section already proposed). B3.3.42 However, further dualling of the A6 will be required outside the RSTN Plan period, in order to develop and upgrade the link between Northern Ireland’s two largest cities by 2025. Therefore, during the Plan period it will be necessary to plan the route of a dual carriageway between Castledawson and Derry, by undertaking a route selection study. This will inform the decision regarding the acquisition of land and route protection lines, e.g. for the Dungiven Bypass.

This lack of funding was rectified suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly in December 2005 by the announcement of sufficient funding for the Dungiven to Derry section. Prophetically, the RSTN did comment that "It is... likely that future dualling in the 2015 to 2025 period will commence at the Londonderry end of the route." This is because traffic levels are highest at the Toome and Derry ends of the A6, and lowest at the Glenshane Pass and because of the difficult terrain crossing the Sperrins. Traffic figures collected in 2004 showed the following daily traffic at various points on the A6:

  • Toome - 21160 vehicles
  • Castledawson - 14880 vehicles
  • Ranaghan (Glenshane Pass) - 10470 vehicles
  • Western edge of Dungiven - 13820 vehicles
  • Altnagelvin, Londonderry - 12930 vehicles
  • Rossdowney, Londonderry - 26930 vehicles

Thanks to Diarmaid Elder for the traffic information on this page.

Photos

A typical view of the A6 road in its current form, here seen near Dungiven. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]

Dungiven town centre is the biggest bottleneck on the route, and will get a bypass. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]

Lots more photos of the road are available on the Roads Service web site - see link at the top of this page.