A6 Dualling Dungiven to Londonderry


Construction scheme (current)
Sacyr, Wills Bros and Somague consortium
New high-quality dual-carriageway to replace the existing single-carriageway A6 from Dungiven to Drumahoe, including 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

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.

9 Jul 2022 - Entire road first opened to traffic (for a period) with lane restrictions and 40mph speed limit.

6 April 2023 - ca 9am - Road fully opened to traffic
(was to aave been late 2022/early 2023 as of Oct 2022; Autumn 2022 as of Jun 2022; spring 2022 as of 2018)


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

(of which £250m for phase 1, Dungiven to Drumahoe as of Feb 2022
(and £200m for phase 2, Drumahow to Gransha) as of Oct 2021
(changed from £220m for phase 1  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)

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, and work got underway in 2018. 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:


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.

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.


Begins on A2 dual-carriageway, Derry

2+2 lanes



A2 Clooney


(into Derry)

 Local access  

 A2 Clooney


 (to Limavady)

5.3 km / 3.3 miles - 2+2 lanes


A? Glenshane


(existing A6)

(into Derry).



2.8 km / 1.7 miles - 2+2 lanes




Local access

Local access



2.0 km / 1.2 miles - 2+2 lanes


Westbound access only.


 Faughan River

 Ardmore Road






2.5 km / 1.6 miles - 2+2 lanes



B74 Glenshane


(Claudy west)

 Gulf Road

2.5 km / 1.5 miles - 2+2 lanes


B69 Baranailt

Road (into


 B69 Baranailt

 Road (towards


13.0 km / 8.1 miles - 2+2 lanes



B74 Feeny


 B74 Feeny

 Road (into


2.5 km / 1.6 miles - 2+2 lanes



 B? Glenshane


 (existing A6;

 into Dungiven)

 Local access



Terminates as single-carriageway
A6 towards Belfast

1 lane each way


6 Apr 2023: We are finally there!! The A6 fully opened to traffic this morning, shortly after 9am, and road users spent the day travelling along the road and sharing their views on social media. The response from the travelling public has been overwhelmingly positive today. I was even getting excited text messages from people who wouldn't normally get excited about roads. There is too much material online to realistically share it all here, but you can see videos by the BBC here, by AerialVisionNI here, by Paul McCloskey here, the Belfast Telegraph here and by Benbradagh here. Thank you all! And a special thank you to all those who have shared material and observations with me over the past four and a half years. The scheme is now open, but work will probably continue for a number of weeks yet as there are still lots of things to tidy up, especially on the surrounding land, such as the new agricultrual access laneways. But it is a good moment to say a big "well done" to DFI Roads, the contractors Sacyr, Wills Bros and Somague, and the designers AECOM and all their staff for bringing the scheme to this conclusion. Other things that are happening are the opening of Claudy park-and-ride tomorrow (7 April) as well as the provision of a park-and-ride site at Dungiven which is a separate project due to be completed within a few years, plus an "official" opening which will take place at some point in the coming weeks. There is also the question of "Phase 2" of this scheme (Drumahoe to the A2 at Gransha) which is still unbuilt due to lack of the £200m funds as well as the unresolved illegal dump on the route at Mobuoy.

22 Mar 2023: With the road safety audit close to completion the only significant issue I know of that has come up is the location of the parking area on the central island of Magherabuoy Roundabout in Dungiven. This is intended as a place for service vehicles to park in order to give workers access to the centre of the junction without having to walk across the live roundabout. The issue seems to be that motorists travelling east from Dungiven towards Belfast are taking the "racing line" by cutting across this parking area. This encourages higher speeds on the roundabout and potentially endangers users of the parking area and other road users. So DFI appear to be planning to relocate the parking area to another part of the roundabout. We'll likely see that work take place in the coming weeks. DFI continue to say that the road will be open by the end of April, but I increasingly suspect (and it's just a suspicion) that it will take place sooner than that, perhaps even 2 or 3 weeks sooner than that. In this case, they will likely open it with zero fanfare and we'll all just discover that it has happened! Whenever it happens it will be great news for both road users and residents of places like Dungiven. Some people have also pointed out on social medai that completion may now coincide with the high profile visit by the US President to Northern Ireland around Easter time. I think opening a road would be below President Biden's level of dignity, but another member of the US delegation might agree to do so. This would be a bonus if it happened!

10 Mar 2023: In the past few weeks DFI Roads seem to be getting increasingly confident about the imminent opening of the A6 dual-carriageway from Derry to Dungiven. A month ago they seemed fairly confident that it would open by the end of April. At the end of February this became stronger when they said “barring any unforeseen circumstances the road will open by end of April”. As of today I get the sense that it may be even sooner than that, perhaps the third week of April. If so, we’re only about 4 to 5 weeks away from opening. Street lighting is complete, the Road Safety audit continues, while the final 20% of the signage continues to be erected on the new road. The photos below give some indication of the stage of the project.

Pic 1: A new tourist sign being erected on the A6 near Killaloo junction on 20 February 2023. Due to the collision risk presented by the five  pillars for the sign, it is protected behind a steel crash barrier. [DFI Roads].

Pic 2: View of the completed but unopened A6 Dungiven Bypass on 2 March 2023, as seen from Magheramore Road bridge and looking towards the terminus of the scheme at Magherabuoy roundabout. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 3: New direction signage on the existing A6 approaching Dungiven westbound as seen on 7 March 2023. This sign directs people left onto the new dual-carriageway, and confirms once again that the existing A6 through the town will become the B64. The sign also depicts the “jet lane” that will allow traffic heading this way to bypass the roundabout. [Paul McCloskey]

8 Feb 2023: Last week DFI Roads said that the cost of the Drumahoe-Dungiven scheme (the part of the A6 scheme that is currently under construction) is likely to come in £30m above its original estimate of £220m. This tells us two things. Firstly, while all schemes have come cost variation from the original estimate, this is a good bit more than normal. It can be explained by the huge rise in the cost of building materials which has happened in the past two years fuelled by the supply chain crisis, high energy costs and the war in Ukraine. Secondly, the fact that DFI are willing to put even an approximate figure on it suggests that negotiations between DFI and the contractor over the final bill are bearing fruit. I believe this has been the main source of the current delay to opening the road, and given the huge upheavals that have taken place since 2018, there must be a lot to negotiate. A DFI representatitve himself said in that article that "there are a number of outstanding disputes and unagreed items with the contractor". DFI are now fairly confident that the road will open by the end of April, though we don't yet have a date. As I have said before, the opening date is entirely down to the contractor, but I am certain that DFI are putting considerable pressure on the contractor to get the road opened as soon as possible. A risk for both parties would be a serious collision occurring on part of the old road before the new road is opened, which is something they would be keen to avoid for many reasons. We are now 4 years and 4 months into this project, making it one of the longest-running road schemes ever undertaken in Northern Ireland. The only scheme I can recall that took longer is the M2 foreshore in Belfast which was built between 1966 and 1973. The contractor recently posted an aerial video of the entire road as it looks now. I've included a brief commentary below. The numbers are the times in the video in minutes and seconds.

  • 0:00 Start of scheme at Lismacarol roundabout, Drumahoe.
  • 0:45 Temporary terminus of the A6 – which I strongly suspect will be permanent. Feel free to remind me of this in ten years.
  • 2:00 Liberty Glen bridge, with all local laneways completed. Immediately followed by two new laybys.
  • 3:10 Empty posts for new direction signage shows that some signs have still to be supplied.
  • 3:45 Tamnaherin Road junction.
  • 4:00 The new Ervey Road link runs parallel to the A6 on the left here. This is a brand new local road which preserves local access further along.
  • 5:00 The Oaks accommodation bridge.
  • 5:35 Fence line on left marks the site of the temporary diversion of the A6 which existed while The Oaks bridge was being built. It has now been removed. Ervey Road link ends on the left at, er, Ervey Road.
  • 6:20 Burntollet Bridge with Ardmore Road bridge on the right. This was a very intense part of the site that bears no resemblance to how it used to look five years ago. Works still appear to be ongoing to tidy it up. Two flood attenuation ponds can be seen, one on each side, as well as a series of pipe culverts under Ardmore Road to help flow when the Faughan river is in flood.
  • 7:30 The old A6 swung out further to the right here. Old road has been removed and replaced with an attenuation pond and an access lane.
  • 8:10 Passing Brackfield Bawn, which has seen a lot of changes since it was built in the early 1600s!
  • 9:45 Killaloo (Gulf Road) junction west of Claudy, looking essentially finished.
  • 10:40 Old A6 on the left here has been reduced in width and turned into an access lane. These works appear to be ongoing.
  • 11:45 Another set of empty signage posts. Old A6 still visible on the left. It too will be reduced in width before completion. This work doesn’t appear to have started yet.
  • 13:00 Baranailt Road junction, Claudy. Work still seems to be underway on the park-and-ride on the right. From here to Dungiven the road is closed with all traffic using the old A6 which begins on the left at 14:10.
  • 16:15 Minor works on a local laneway evident here. Mainline appears to be completely finished with wire central barrier in place.
  • 17:20 Gortilea Road bridge, where the embankment had some issues a few weeks ago, which have now been resolved.
  • 20:30 Ballyhanedin Road bridge, again looking completely finished.
  • 25:30 Crock-na-brock Road, now permanently severed by the new road.
  • 27:30 Ovil Hill cutting, the largest cutting on the scheme, with grass and bushes now colonising the rocky banks. Local works here and after appear finished.
  • 30:10 Site of the contractor’s tarmac batching plant, now gone.
  • 31:00 Derrychrier Road underbridge.
  • 33:10 Feeny Road junction, completed but not yet open. This is the start of the Dungiven Bypass section.
  • 35:10 Owenrigh Road river bridge followed by Magheramore Road overbridge, both completed.
  • 36:20 River Roe bridge. Some landscaping works still underway below the bridge.
  • 37:05 Rumble strips to encourage drivers to slow down as they approach the end of the scheme at Magherabuoy Roundabout east of Dungiven. Roundabout itself appears to be completed, including the “jet lane” on the right. It’s not clear from the markings whether both lanes heading east along the dual-carriageway will be able to take the second exit to continue onto the A6. This is something that’s highly likely to cause confusion if it’s not made crystal clear, as I suspect most drivers will assume that continuing on the A6 towards Belfast is “straight on”, and hence possible from the left lane. The A6 exit does appear to assume two lanes merging.

25 Jan 2023: There has been evidence over the past few weeks of final work taking place across the scheme, with signage appearing in various locations and other loose ends. DFI Roads issued a statement, reported in Derry Now, that work on the mainline would be finished "in the next few weeks". The term "mainline" refers to the new dual-carriageway itself, as opposed to changes to the local road network and "accommodation works" which refers to the additional local laneways etc that are also being constructed to maintain access for local landowners. While a "few weeks" is quite vague, it does seem to square with what we're seeing on the ground so I do believe we're coming close to that milestone, likely during February. In most road schemes, the road is opened in phases as we approach the end, with cones and speed restrictions remaining in place for some time. During this time, a Road Safety Audit is always carried out. This is essentially to satisfy DFI that the road has been constructed as designed, and is safe to use. The road does not have to be completely closed to allow this to happen. However, the site remains under the control of the contractor until the process has been concluded, which means that it's the contractor, not DFI, who decide whether to have traffic on the new road at this point. In this case, the contractor seems to have decided to keep the road closed for the Road Safety Audit. While extremely frustrating for drivers, they are not going anything wrong in doing this, and their motive may simply be that it is cheaper and easier to carry out the audit on a closed road than to have temporary traffic management in operation. A period of three months has been mooted (hence why I've kept saying April 2023 for opening) but DFI said that they were "working hard to minimise this period", which I read simply as "leaning on the contractor to be as speedy as possible". The issue was once again brought to the fore a few days ago when an exceptional load travelling from Derry to Toome had to go down Dungiven's main street with considerable disruption, despite the completed bypass being just a few hundred metres away. Anyway, I am convinced that there is really nothing we as the public can do about these delays and must instead console ourselves that the road is going to be a game-changer for Dungiven and the while North West once it finally opens in the spring, four-and-a-half years after work began.

4 Jan 2023: There is little more to report since mid December, with final works on the scheme continuing to progress at a very sedate pace and no word on when the road might open. Street lighting is in place in some locations, and work recently got underway on providing further electrical connections for equipment along the site. Long stretches seem completed, with the Dungiven Bypass even sporting rumble strips approaching the roundabout. I am now convinced that the primary issue delaying the scheme is ongoing discussions between the contractor and DFI related to finance and the overall cost of the scheme, a problem not assisted by the absence of an Executive which makes it more difficult for DFI to resolve. Despite the immense frustration and negative publicity this is causing, I think we have no choice but to wait this out. Staff on the ground appear to be working towards an assumed opening date of April 2023. Finally, we now know that the old A6 between Dungiven and Claudy will become the B64 upon completion of the new road, while the short stretch of the old A6 at the Derry end (Tamnaherin Road to Drumahoe) will become the B118. Thanks for Stephen Baxter for flagging that to me.

16 Dec 2022: Work on this scheme continues, as the ongoing delay to opening continues to attract negative media attention and poor publicity on social media, especially around the nature of the temporary traffic management which is viewed as unclear at night and for those unfamiliar with the route. The contractor posted an update a couple of days ago which clarifies that the bulk of the outstanding works relate to NIE works (supplies to lighting and signage), landscaping and completion of new local side roads/access lanes along the scheme. Their update comments that street lighting at three junctions is installed but is awaiting power supply. This tallies with what I have heard from landowners along the route, who have noticed that NIE only seems to be seeking permission to install new power cables now. It's not clear why these works are only happening now given that the scheme having been underway now for over four years, but installations of this type are not easy and are quite time-consuming. The update also comments that installation of road signs on the main road will not be completed until "early 2023" with signs on side roads to follow after that. This tallies with what I've heard from people familiar with the scheme that sign acquisition has been problematic, for whatever reason. While the main A6 itself looks substantially complete, the local roads and access lanes around it look less completed and it seems there is still a good bit of work to be done on those. Finally, the contractor's update notes that the road safety audit (a normal step which takes place after every major new road is built) will not take place until all construction works are completed, which is rather open-ended. I can still see no good reason why the new road could not be opened tomorrow – with a speed limit and lane restrictions as it was in the summer – except that somebody is choosing not to open it. Certainly there is no need for the road to be closed to complete a road safety audit. In fact, it can't be completed until the road is fully open. Finally, here is a video posted by Benbradagh (but not taken by him) which shows a drive along the whole offline stretch from Claudy east to Dungiven. This is the stretch that is currently closed. The video indicates that the central wire barrier is now largely complete which is one positive thing in what is otherwise a very frustrating situation.

25 Nov 2022: Having observed the scheme, public frustration, and especially DFI's comments on it, for another month this update is to bring together my current thinking on what is going on. Basically, the road was to have been opened in the autumn of 2022 but it now looks like it will be April 2023. DFI have been tight-lipped about the reasons, referring to the need for a road safety audit, supply chain issues and Covid. In my view none of these is a sufficient explanation for the road to still be closed. Firstly, the road safety audit. This is the final QA process that needs to be done in order to ensure that the road has been built exactly as it should have been and to a sufficient quality. Essentially, this is to ensure value for money for the taxpayer. The road can't be fully handed over from the contractor to DFI until this is done. However it is NOT the case that it prevents the road opening. Roads open all the time while work is still taking place, as we saw at Dungiven in the summer. In fact, the road HAS to be open for the final stages of the audit to be carried out. Secondly, the supply chain issues definitely do seem to have happened. A recent aerial movie released by the contractor shows a surprising lack of road signage, with lots of empty posts, at various places, as well as a lack of central crash barrier. So it looks as if there are issues acquiring the signs and possibly the barrier steel. However, again, the lack of final signage would not prevent the road being opened as it is perfectly acceptable to use temporary signage while works are ongoing. Thirdly, Covid. This has definitely impacted the scheme. However, as recently as the spring of 2022 DFI were saying that it was intended that the road would open in the autumn. Covid was a major issue for around two years from March 2020, but it can't account for a delay of five months appearing since the spring of this year. I think Covid is a red herring. So where does this leave us? Having eliminated these as possible causes of the delay to opening, the only plausible reason that remains is what I said in October - a contractual dispute of some kind between DFI and the contractor. Contractual disputes in major infrastructure projects usually boil down to disagreements over money. Now we have to be quite clear here that there is no suggestion that anybody has done anything wrong, simply that there may be a difference of opinion about who should pay for what and under what circumstances, especially given recent steep rises in costs. But it does seem to me that there is no technical reason why this road could not be open right now, perhaps with cones and reduced speed limits. I don't know why it is not.

27 Oct 2022: Having had another three weeks to observe what's going on on this scheme and observe increasing public disquiet I am now of the view that the issue is mainly, though not exclusively, of a contractual nature. Members of the contractor's staff on the ground have told some local people that they are working towards a completion date of April 2023 which is so far beyond what we expected that it suggests something beyond supply chain or engineering problems is delaying it. We can tell from drone photos that whatever the issue was at Gortilea Road it was related to the approach embankment, not the bridge itself, so is unlikely to be a deal-breaking problem. We also know that there have been some delays with installing electrical supplies to new equipment along the road, which is in turn delaying the final Road Safety Audit. However a road does not actually have to have passed its safety audit to be opened - otherwise the temporary openings in the summer could not have happened. The removal of the tarmac batching plant at Ovil, which is now more or less gone, suggests that there isn't any perceived need of major resurfacing works. So having eliminated serious engineering problems, the only other plausible reason for such a significant delay is some kind of contractual dispute between DFI and the contractor. if this is the case then, given the disruption caused by the Covid pandemic combined with recent soaring costs, it's quite likely that it relates to money. It's not hard to imagine a scenario where the scheme has cost more than the contractor planned and where the contractor feels that it would be reasonable for some of this risk to fall on DFI. A contractual dispute would also explain why DFI seem to be so reluctant to talk publicly about what's going on, instead repeating the same lines about the outstanding work, despite it being obvious that more is going on than this. If this is what is going on, then the opening of the road is probably one of several points of leverage that exists in the discussions between DFI and the contractor. It is infuriating for motorists driving alongside a largely-completed road but, if what I have speculated above turns out to be the case, it does seem as if this is one that the lawyers will have to solve while the rest of us wait.

6 Oct 2022: Work continues on the project, but I am adding this update to address the speculation that has become more frequent in the past couple of weeks about what is happening on this project – not helped by the vacuum of information coming from DFI on the subject, which provides fertile ground for rumours to breed! A couple of days ago DFI responded to a question by a member of public by saying that, while a lot had been achieved, "there remains significant work that still need to be completed before the road can be fully opened safely. This includes the provision of vehicle restraint systems, signage, street lighting and completion of Road Safety Audit." The first three of these have been self-apparent. The fourth, the Road Safety Audit, is basically the final quality assurance check that is done on all road schemes. It is done to ensure that what the contractor has built is exactly what was commissioned and is of sufficient quality. Such audits always bring up issues that need addressed, this is normal. Less often, they reveal larger problems. The rumours are that the project may be experiencing something of this nature. There are three things that back up this theory. Firstly, the apparent lack of progress over the past two months, especially on the central crash barrier, which is still not completed, and lack of a convincing explanation for the delay and the refusal to commit to anything more specific than "the coming months". Secondly, the fact that one of the new bridges over the A6 (Gortilea Road) has been closed for a number of weeks now. Some utility works were taking place here a few weeks ago, but not enough to justify a closure of this length. This raises the possibility that there is some kind of issue with this bridge. Generally you don't close a bridge unless work is actively taking place or there is a concern for the safety of road users. Finally, a DFI employee wrote to a member of the public a few days ago who was inquiring when the road would open and said "we suspect it will be a number of months". A delay of several months could potentially bring us into the new year. If this is the scenario that is developing then it would be tricky for DFI to comment on as it will involve the reputation of the contractor. We must, of course, caveat all of this by saying that this is all circumstantial and there is nothing in the public domain to suggest that there are any quality issues with the work. But either way, my suspicion now is that the new road may not even be open during 2022. Note 7 Oct: The original post referred to a theory that there was an issue with the tarmac on the road. I no longer think this is likely to be the case, so to avoid confusion I deleted those two sentences.

22 Sep 2022: The lack of information from DFI and the contractor about when this road will be completed is beginning to attract negative press coverage. DFI have already explained that a combination of Covid earlier in the scheme, supply chain issues and market volatility had delayed the project, and there is no reason to doubt the truth of this. However, the lack of even a vague timescale is increasingly frustrating to motorists who don't see much sign of work happening. In practice, quite a bit of work is ongoing - especially in relation to signage, vegetation, finishing earthworks and safety barriers - but much of this is very localised in nature meaning that there are often long stretches with no visible workers. I have previously said that my best guess for completion is mid Autumn, and more recently I have said late autumn. However in the past couple of days DFI would only say that it would be opened "in the coming months". Given the length of time that motorists have endured 40mph speed limits and no overtaking opportunities, I do think they deserve to given a bit more information than this. While appreciating that it is impossible to name a date right now, at least admitting (let's say) that opening would be unlikely to happen before January would at least give people something to go on. In other news, the works carried out during the two weekend closures of Magherabuoy roundabout in Dungiven were successful. The roundabout now looks much more finalised with the temporary bus stop removed and the brickwork around the central island well advanced. Benbradagh recently put up an aerial movie of the roundabout as it was before last weekend's closure.

24 Aug 2022: This month we can again take advantage of a new aerial video posted on YouTube by the contractor. It shows the entire scheme from west (Drumahoe) to east (Dungiven) as it was a week ago, on 17 August. Currently the "offline" section from Dungiven to Claudy is closed to traffic again, and will likely remain so for some weeks as a lot of work still needs to be done. It does certainly feel as if the pace has slowed in the past couple of months, but I am not aware of the contractor's planned timescales. In particular, work on the central tensioned-wire barrier still has a long way to go. As far as I can tell a short stretch from the start of the scheme at Drumahoe to around the Belfray Inn (2:52 in the video, about a mile or so) has been fitted. After that the next section begins half away along the scheme from around Ballyhanedin Road (20:40 in the video) as far as the Owenbeg River bridge near Feeny Road (29:15 in the video) has had its wires put in place, though as yet they don't seem to be fully connected or tensioned. That leaves about half the scheme still to get its barrier. There is also a lot of red tarmac to be laid in the central reservation - you can see this happening at 14:28 in the video. The tarmac batching plant near Foreglen seems to be ramping down now, though it is still in place and seems to be still in use. It had been due to be removed at the end of July but the fact that it's still there suggests delays. Other than the central reservation, the road itself seems to be completed along its entire length with works focused more on ancillary works such as local access lanes, signage and drainage. It is now looking to me as if work on the scheme will need go to go on until at least mid Autumn.

24 Jul 2022: Time constraints prevent me from making a large update this month. The scheme has made progress over the past month, though the pace of works seems to be slowing as the contractor focuses on a couple of key locations, and is more involved now with time-consuming but visually-inconspicuous works such as signage, planting and finishing works to local roads. On 9 July the entire length of the scheme from east of Dungiven to Drumahoe opened to traffic with one lane each way and a 40mph speed limit. It is worth reminding road users that both the Dungiven Bypass and the offline section from Dungiven to Claudy will close again - hopefully for the final time - in mid August to allow final works to take place along this stretch. The immensely frustrating 40mph speed limit is needed to protect workers along what is still a construction site, and is unlikely to be lifted before the road closes again in mid August. The contractor and DFI are both being (understandably) tight-lipped about when the scheme will be completed but my best information is that September is too optimistic but December would be pessimistic, so my best guesstimate is mid to late Autumn. The contractor recently posted a YouTube video flythrough of the entire scheme (from East to West). Three points to note in this video:

  • At 21:16 – construction well underway on the section of new road that will link the "old" A6 to the local road network at Claudy. From here to near Derry the new road subsumes the old road.
  • At 29:40 – Ardmore Road junction at Burntollet was opened to traffic at last in June – hurrah! Burntollet Bridge itself appears to be completed and work has clearly taken place to restore the landscape here which was significantly affected by the works.
  • At 32:00 – At Tamnaherin Road junction work is underway to complete the Ervey Road link (on the right) which will link Ervey Road, near Burntollet, to the new road via this new junction.

Benbradagh has also recently posted aerial videos of the River Roe bridge at Dungiven then-and-now style, and also one of the new Magherabuoy Roundabout in Dungiven where the scheme terminates.

29 Jun 2022: A very brief update to comment that the contractor has just put their monthly aerial movie of the scheme on YouTube. You can find the East to West movie here, and the West to East movie here. Both were taken on 21 June. These are the first movies taken since traffic was diverted onto the Dungiven to Claudy stretch, and also since the Killaloo junction west of Claudy was opened.

19 Jun 2022: A few milestones were achieved over the past few weeks on a project which is now entering its final few months. Firstly, the Gulf Road junction (Killaloo) opened to traffic on 9 June. It gives access to Claudy to/from the Derry direction. At Drumahoe, the adjustments to the local road network are now complete, and access to Lismacarol Road has now been restored (see pic 2 below). At Burntollet, all traffic has been using the future westbound bridge for some weeks, but the rebuilt Ardmore Road is now finally looking well advanced with earthworks essentially complete and the westbound on/offslip taking shape (there is no eastbound access here). A big change was the temporary opening of the long stretch of dual-carriageway between Dungiven and Claudy which came into use on 12 June and will remain in use for about two months. This includes closing the Feeny Road junction temporarily and is to facilitate works to the existing A6. In mid August this stretch of road will close again for final works. It is worth noting that at 13.0 km the stretch from Feeny Road to Claudy is now the longest stretch of road with no intermediate access in Northern Ireland, beating the current record-holder, the M1 between Blaris and Moira at 10.3 km. It is not yet clear clear when the whole scheme will be open and cones/speed restrictions removed, but my understanding is that September would be a bit too optimistic. So I'm going to say closer to late autumn. Before we get into some more photos, here are links to two aerial videos posted by the contractor, both taken on 28 May 2022: East to West and West to East. They are about 40 minutes each, so go and make a coffee, they should fill an evening nicely! The bullet points below are a brief list of points of interest on the East to West video:

  • Start – Magherabuoy roundabout Dungiven
  • 2:25 Magheramore Road bridge
  • 4:10 Feeny Road junction
  • 8:35 Killunaught Road bridge
  • 10:10 Ovil Hill Cutting
  • 14:35 Munreary Road bridge
  • 17:00 Ballyhanedin Road bridge
  • 19:20 Gortilea Road bridge
  • 22:30 Claudy junction (Baranailt Road)
  • 26:20 Killaloo junction (Gulf Road)
  • 31:00 Burntollet bridge
  • 33:45 Tamnaherin Road junction
  • 39:05 Liberty Glen bridge
  • 40:50 Terminus of scheme at Lismacarol roundabout
Anyway, here are 7 more photos, arranged as usual from west (Derry end) to east (Dungiven end).

Pic 1: Terminus of the scheme at Lismacarol roundabout, Derry showing the splayed carriageways future-proofed for the planned extension to Gransha, and the park-and-ride. My gut feeling is that the future extension will not happen, and this will become another permanent-termporary terminus. 15 June 2022 [Aerial Vision NI]

Pic 2: Closeup of the junction between the realigned Glenshane Road, Dumahoe (with Lismacarol roundabout off to the bottom) on 28 May 2022. Showing the "original" A6 heading off to the left past the yellow box, plus the new link road connecting Lismacarol Road now completed left of centre. [Contractor's pic]

Pic 3: Tamnaherin Junction just east of Drumahoe on 15 June 2022, which is not yet open to traffic. The scale of the future dual-carriageway is evident in the width of the new road, compared to the two tiny lanes being used by current traffic. The curved road to the right here (which was used earlier in the project as a temporary route for all traffic) is now being reconstructed as a permanent connection to the Ervey Road link, which will preserve access to Ervey Road, near Burntollet. [Aerial Vision NI]

Pic 4: View of Burntollet on 28 May 2022, showing the very-advanced Ardmore Road which took a tremendous amount of engineering. Note also the left-in/left-out junction which is now taking shape. The contractor appears to be working to restore the landscape which was significantly impacted by the works here. [Contractor's image]

Pic 5: Gulf Road junction at Killaloo, west of Claudy, seen here looking east on 15 June, a week after opening. The local road on the right has also been realigned to flow directly to the junction from Claudy. [Aerial Vision NI]

Pic 6: Claudy junction, at Baranailt Road, seen on 15 June 2022. The Baranailt Road link here is due to the closed for two months from around now until mid August for final works. [Aerial Vision NI]

Pic 7: This ground-level view of the new road was taken from Ballyhanedin Road bridge on 12 June, shortly before it was opened to traffic. It shows that the tensioned-wire central barrier has now been fitted here, though it has not in many other locations. This is one of the big bits of work still to be done. [Paul McCloskey]

25 May 2022: Another update, this time mainly to share this aerial video just put up by Benbradagh (thank you!), which covers the long offline section of the scheme from Barnailt Road (Claudy) to Feeny Road (Dungiven). I have added a short commentary below. Not shown in the video is the start of the scheme at Drumahoe. Here the tie-in works to connect the existing A6 and Lismacarol Road into the new local road network here are finally completed, and the local roads reopened to traffic. DFI recently said that the scheme would be completed in "the autumn", which fits with the original completion date of spring 2022 but with six months added due to the Covid pandemic during 2020, as was advised at the time. I still think that the roads themselves are likely to be opened earlier than this, perhaps during the summer, with ancillary and snagging works extending into the autumn. Finally, the contractor has put a video on YouTube here which covers the entire scheme from Drumahoe to Dungiven, the only down-side being that it is a month old (20 April).

Anyway, here is a commentary to go with Benbradagh's aerial video:

  • 0:05 Having just passed over Baranailt Road (Claudy junction) we are now travelling east. Traffic comes off the future dual-carriageway and rejoins the old A6. Traffic is not using any of the new road from here to Feeny Road.
  • 0:20 Drainage channels (white) in the central reservation switch sides as the camber of the road switches to transition into a right-hand bend.
  • 0:40 One of many attenuation bonds - they collect water from the road during heavy rain and hold it to stop it overwhelming local watercourses, and also let particles like rubber settle out.
  • 1:00 New road here is finished, other than the installation of the central crash barrier. Long lengths of parallel access lanes for landowners on the right.
  • 1:45 Passing over Gortilea Road bridge.
  • 2:55 Passing over Ballyhanedin Road bridge. The old alignment of the road has been retained as a local access laneway.
  • 3:35 Pair of future lay-bys.
  • 4:25 Munreery accommodation bridge (for local access)
  • 5:15 Where Crock-na-brock Road used to run across the route. It has now been closed at either side here.
  • 5:50 Passing Foreglen village to the left. Altagarron Road passes under the new road.
  • 6:25 Ovil Hill cutting. A large amount of peat material has been replaced at the top of the hill on the right here, while there are signs of vegetation reclaiming the bare rock faces of cutting.
  • 7:35 Passing over Killunaught Road bridge.
  • 7:55 Another pair of laybys. Tarmac batching plant still in place on the left, though the majority of surfacing work is now complete.
  • 8:25 Derrychrier Road passes under the new road in a box tunnel.
  • 9:15 Owenrigh River bridge
  • 9:45 Feeny Road junction at the western side of Dungiven. Traffic is using the new road from here to the terminus of the scheme at Magherabuoy roundabout (not in this video).
  • 10:20 Video halts with Magheramore Road bridge visible ahead.

15 May 2022: This is a brief update to note that traffic was switched to the westbound carriageway of the new A6 from Gulf Road junction (Killaloo, west of Claudy) to Tamnaherin Road junction (2 miles from Drumahoe) yesterday (Saturday). This includes Burntollet Bridge where traffic is now using the southern half of the new bridge which was surfaced during April. The northern half of Burntollet Bridge has been closed again, presumably until the dual-carriageway opens fully. This follows a frustrating few days for motorists due to temporary traffic signals at Tamnaherin Road which led to tailbacks up to two miles long at times. Hopefully those are now over. Major works are talking place over the next two weeks at Gulf Road (Killaloo) junction which is getting tied in to the local road network and the new junction between 13th May and 27th May. Once completed, the new overbridge here will be opened to traffic and the junction fully opened (though probably with Give Ways at the onslips until all four lanes of the dual-carriageway open). On the rest of the scheme, there are still long stretches that require a central crash barrier, which is a substantial amount of work that still needs done before opening in the summer. And, no, neither the contractor nor DFI has yet given us any indication of an opening date! I would not expect a date to be publicised until the opening is imminent as neither party has any desire to create a rod for their own back by naming a date well in advance.

22 Apr 2022: The biggest change to the scheme over the past month was the opening of the Dungiven Bypass, albeit with one lane each way and a speed restriction, on 26 March 2022. Given that all westbound traffic has to queue to come off the Bypass at Feeny Road, double back to Dungiven and then turn left towards Derry, this has been a rather underwhelming experience for drivers. However the opening is actually intended to facilitate the closure of the current A6 at the eastern end of the town for final works at Magherabuoy roundabout. The bypass will close again for a short period in the early summer to facilitate further tying-in works but after that will be open permanently. The stretch of the road from Dungiven all the way to Feeny is more or less completed, with the exception of the central crash barrier. This entire stretch could be opened to traffic at any time – provided the contractor could find the 26 km of cones that would be needed to reduce it to one lane in the absence of a crash barrier! Work on bridge structures is now completed except for five places (1) Tamnaherin Road bridge which still needs some work on the verges (2) the second half of Burntollet bridge which received its tarmac during April and is now being finished off (3) Ardmore Road bridge which has yet to be surfaced and is due to be completed around June (4) Killaloo Road [Claudy west] which is expected to open to traffic in June and (5) an accommodation underpass just west of Gortilea Road which is to be completed by early May. All bridges between Gortilea Road and the terminus of the scheme at Dungiven are now complete. When will it all open? The contractor is remaining quiet on this point, but I think it's likely that Claudy to Dungiven will open next, with one lane each way, followed by the final stretch around June or July. All speed and lane restrictions – which are primarily there to protect workers – would be needed until substantial works are completed, again probably early summer. Before we get into photos (all by me on this occasion thanks to my first post-Covid trip to the site!) here are some links to interesting A6 movies posted by others:

  • Aerial movie of the A6 at Dungiven, taken by Benbradagh just after opening on 28 March.
  • Another aerial movie of the A6 at Dungiven, also by Benbradagh, two weeks later on 8 April.
  • A drivers-eye view of a drive along the A6 at Dungiven, the day after opening, on 27 March. Taken by Diarmaid Macfheargail
    Diarmaid Macfheargail.
  • Sub-contractor P.Keenan's footage of asphalt being laid at Burntollet Bridge around 6–8 April. Including some lovely drone footage. Thanks to Paul McCloskey for the link.
  • Worth also checking out Benbradagh's videos more generally as he has posted some then-and-now footage of stretches of the A6.

Pic 1: View taken at Drumahoe on 12 April 2022, with the new Lismacarol roundabout directly behind the camera. The road running left-right in the distance is the former A6 Glenshane Road, now a local road. In the foreground is a new link being built to connect Lismacarol Road (to the left) to the existing Glenshane Road. This is a similar view before works began. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 2: View looking east towards the new Lismacarol roundabout on 2 April 2022, with the "temporary" terminus of the A6 on the right. In theory the A6 will eventually be extended west over this roundabout on a viaduct to the A2 at Gransha. However I have doubts about whether this will happen in the foreseeable future. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 3: View north from McKay's accommodation bridge towards the "temporary" terminus of the scheme at Lismacarol roundabout on 12 April 2022. In this view the final lane markings have been added, and the posts for the central crash barrier have been installed. It looks as if the westbound carriageway will reduce to one lane well ahead of the roundabout, leaving a substantial amount of un-used tarmac here. It may be painted with chevrons before opening to reinforce the message that it is not a lane. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 4: View west from Gortilea Road overbridge (just east of Claudy) on 12 April 2022, showing the road essentially completed save for the central crash barrier. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 5: View west along the Dungiven Bypass on 12 April 2022 from Magheramore Road overbridge with the Owenrigh river bridge just ahead. The road was open when this was taken, but without a central crash barrier. Note the very lengthy barrier in the foreground designed to prevent vehicles entering the river. The barrier terminus at the bottom right acts like a kind of 'carriage', which gets pushed along the barrier in the event of a collision, reducing the deceleration. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 6: View east along the Dungiven Bypass from Magheramore Road bridge on 12 April 2022. Again, the road is open here. Note the thousands of saplings on the right. In a few years this cutting will look very different. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 7: View of Magherabuoy Roundabout at Dungiven on 12 April 2022, with the town behind and to the right of the camera, the new A6 to the right distance and the current A6 towards Glenshane on the top left. The roundabout is now operating as a true roundabout with traffic circulating right around it. [Wesley Johnston]

23 Mar 2022: The biggest change on the scheme in the past month was the opening of the Lismacarol roundabout in Drumahoe (the scheme's western terminus) on 4 March, and the diversion of traffic onto the new A6 from there towards Dungiven. This means traffic is now using the new road from Lismacarol roundabout, over Liberty Glen Bridge and all the way to the end of the "offline" stretch at Tamnaherin Road. If you are not in the area, you can "drive" the route from Drumahoe to Burntollet thanks to this great dashcam footage shot by Diarmaid Macfheargail. Currently the road is open with one lane each way, switching carriageways periodically as the works require it, and with a 40mph speed limit. FP McCann have written an interesting blog piece about the deck pour they did at Liberty Glen bridge last month, highlighting the logistical challenges of a pour that has to be continuous yet needs 104 lorry loads of concrete! Another big change seems to be coming at some point this weekend with the rumoured opening of the Dungiven Bypass (at least for westbound traffic), presumably with the same lane and speed restrictions. It's not certain how much of the new road will open, or whether eastbound traffic will also use the new road, but based on the road markings we are seeing the most likely section is the stretch from the eastern terminus at Magherabuoy Roundabout as far as Feeny Road junction where traffic would then move back onto the existing A6 along Feeny Road. This may explain the construction of a mini roundabout on the existing A6 at the Feeny Road T-junction this week. Then from mid-April access into Dungiven from Magherabuoy Roundabout will be closed off, presumably to allow the completion of the roundabout. From this point, and for a few weeks, A6 traffic will only be able to access the town from the western side. Progress is very advanced along all the scheme, with the final course of blacktop in place along the majority of the scheme, and lane markings in place on long stretches. Much still needs to be done on the central crash barrier, which is mostly unbuilt. However, these works could take place even with live traffic on the road, provided there were lane and speed restricitons. The whole road is still due to open sometime during the spring (so I'm going to say, by the end of May) with the completion of all works by the summer. There is also a marvellous aerial movie of the eastern stretch of the route from Killunaught Road to Dungiven, by the prolific Benbradagh. The photos below are, as usual, arranged from west to east. Thanks again to everyone who takes pictures and movies and makes them freely available to the rest of us.

Pic 1: Work underway on the foundations of the Ervey Road Link at Tamnaherin Road on 22 Mar 2022. The road on the right is Tamnaherin Road, with the bridge carrying the new A6 in the distance. The new A6 subsumes the existing road from here east (to the left here), so the Ervey Road Link is being built parallel to the new road to retain local access. [Polyanne]

Pic 2: View looking west across Burntollet Bridge on 22 Mar 2022. On the left the deck of the southern half of the new bridge seems to be complete and a layer of waterproofing is being added. I would expect to see the road being constructed over this half of the bridge within the next few weeks. Up ahead you can see that all traffic is now using the eastbound carriageway, though the lane markings pointing traffic to turn to the left at the switchover point are still in place which is rather confusing, especially in the dark. [Arthur Ming]

Pic 3: The DFI Minister Nichola Mallon has been understandably keen to visit various sites prior to the (presumed) end of her tenure after the upcoming election. Here she is seen at Ballyhanedin Road bridge east of Claudy with Juan Rodriguez-Altonaga Martinez (Contracts Manager) and Michael Troughton (Project Director) representing the Contractor Joint Venture of Sacyr, Wills Bros Ltd and Somague. 2 Mar 2022. This view shows the road surface complete, lane markings in place with the central crash barrier apparently all that is needed. However this stretch is not yet open to traffic, with all traffic currently using the old road, visible on the right. [DFI]

Pic 4: View west from Munreery Road bridge on 20 Mar 2022, showing a stretch which is a little less advanced with lane markings ending ahead. Although the central crash barrier has yet to be built, safety barriers on the left and right are in place, as are a lot of new trees. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 5: View west from Killunaught Road bridge on 20 Mar 2022, with Ovil Hill cutting ahead. At this location the westbound carriageway has been completed. It is possible that this part of the road will be opened to traffic in the next month or so, with all traffic using one of the two carriageways. However the contractor has not said anything about this possibility or the timing so this is my conjecture. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 6: Aerial view of the A6 west of Feeny Road on 21 Mar 2022 showing what looks like three brand-new distance signs erected in a field beside the new road. Presumably they are being stored here as they are not visible from the road at this location. The new signage will finally reveal the B-number that the old downgraded A6 is going to get! [Benbradagh]

Pic 7: Aerial view of the new Feeny Road junction on 21 Mar 2022, looking east. Work is underway here in earnest, possibly in preparation for the expected opening of the Dungiven Bypass stretch as far as here this coming weekend (by 27 March). If traffic ends up leaving the new road here, some more work would need done to the sliproads prior to the opening. [Benbradagh]

Pic 8: The completed River Roe bridge near Dungiven seen on 21 Mar 2022 with all but the central barrier in place. Under the bridge you can see two accommodation laneways under construction, one on each bank. The bridge also seems to be sporting some kind of brown fencing on the south side which looks permanent. It's not clear to me what this is – perhaps an acoustic barrier or some kind of wind breaker? [Benbradagh]

Pic 9: View west along the Dungiven Bypass on 17 Mar 2022 from Priory Lane overbridge, showing the road completed other than the central crash barrier. Traffic is likely to be on this road within the next week. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 10: Aerial view of the perpetual building site which is Magherabuoy Roundabout, Dungiven on 21 Mar 2022, with the new road heading off to the upper left. A lot of work always seems to be going on here, but not an awful lot seems to change from week to week. This suggests that a lot of relatively small-scale, but time-consuming works are being required here. In mid April the access into Dungiven (upper right) will be temporarily closed to facilitate the completion of the roundabout. [Benbradagh]

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