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-carriagway from Caw to Maydown (Phase 2).
Total Length
30.0km / 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 have been subsumed by this much larger scheme, although the preliminary work done will still apply. 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

26 Mar 2020: This update follows on from the one two weeks ago, where the focus was on Dungiven. This time we have photographs that  focus on the Derry end of the scheme, with grateful thanks to Dee Logue and 'Pollyanne'. The contractor, DFI and the scheme's designers issued a joint statement a week ago saying that work on the project would continue despite the Covid-19 pandemic, but that all personnel would be observing social distancing. I don't know if that position has changed in the 7 days since then, but people passing the site have reported less activity in the past few days. Neverthless, we have six photographs to share below which begin at Tamnaherin Road (The Cross) and then move on to Drumahoe. Enjoy!


Pic 1: View east along the future westbound carriageway near Tamnaherin Road junction (which is just behind the camera) on 26 March 2020. The bus is on the existing A6, which temporarily veers off to the left just here to bypass the site. The fence crossing the site just ahead is a private access lane. In due course it will be replaced by a new laneway to the future roundabout, but remains open for now. This is a similar viewpoint before work began. [Pollyanne]

Pic 2: View east along the future (and also past) A6 from just west of the original Tamnaherin Road junction. Traffic is currnetly being diverted round this site to the left of the shot. The road here has been built up on a shallow embankment. The plans show an embankment here, so it's not certain whether this is the final height of the new road, or whether it has also been 'surcharged' with extra material to make it settle more rapidly. This is the same view before work began. [Pollyanne]

Pic 3: Moving to Lismacarol Road, this is the McCay's accommodation overbridge about half a mile east of the scheme's terminus at Drumahoe, on 26 Mar 2020 with its beams recently lifted into place. It will preserve access to private property. [Dee Logue]

Pic 4: View north across McCay's accommodation overbridge on 26 Mar 2020. The concrete structure in the foreground is the bridge abutment, which will be backfilled, while ahead you can see the six beams (two sets of three) that make up the bridge structure. It is narrow as it will only carry a laneway. [Dee Logue]

Pic 5: Slightly blurry, but nevertheless a very informative shot looking along the future route of the A6 Glenshane Road where it will curve round to meet the terminus of the dual-carriageway at a new roundabout behind the camera. This is roughly the same viewpoint before work began. 26 Mar 2020. [Dee Logue]

Pic 6: This is the same area as pic 5, but viewed from the Glenshane Road. The road will be diverted up the hill straight ahead to the future Lismacarol roundabout. The building site on the left of the shot is the future park-and-ride facility. This is the same view before work began. [Dee Logue]

12 Mar 2020: Quite a bit has happened since the last update in February. The update here will focus mostly on the structures (bridges and underpasses) along the scheme since that's what we have the most information on. There are also some additional photos taken around Dungiven. The most significant event was the biggest beam lift on the scheme to date, which took place in mid February and involved lifting 8 beams, each of 135 tonnes, into place across the Owenrigh River beside Magheramore Road, Dungiven (here). The number of beams required is so high because this bridge will carry the dual-carriageway itself over the river. Below are some pictures of the area showing it before, during and after the beam lift. The contractor has made a great time-lapse movie of the beam lift that can be seen on YouTube here (though mis-identifying the river as the Roe). This is one of three river bridges that need to be built on the Dungiven Bypass section, the other two being the Owenbeg and Roe bridges. Neither of those is as advanced as the Owenrigh River bridge. The other notable beam lift of the past month was at Gortilea Road, which is a local road east of Claudy that will be bridged over the new dual-carriageway here. These beams were lifted into place around 25 February. There is one photo of this below. A third structure which advanced this month was the Derrychrier Road underpass, west of Dungiven. This is a local road that will pass beneath the new dual-carriageway, and so is made from box sections placed side by side. There is a photo of this below, too. The contractor has put a site update on their web site for March, though because they refer to the structures by number rather than by name I've translated the bulk of it below (going from west to east).

  • Structure 1 - McCays accommodation overbridge, which is located a few hundred metres from the terminus of the scheme at Drumahoe. Abutments are in place and the beams will be lifted in early March (if not already).
  • 5 - Burntollet Bridge - Piling has been installed for this very complex bridge and pouring of the concrete base is taking place in early March 2020. I suspect only the eastern half of this bridge is being built initially, though that's not confirmed.
  • 8 - Killaloo Road overbridge, at the new grade-separated junction west of Claudy. The concrete base and abutment on the south side is well advanced, and excavation for centre pier is underway. Work on the north pier can't start yet as the current A6 is in the way.
  • 9 - Baranailt Road underbridge, at the new grade-separated junction at Claudy. This bridge will carry the new road over a local road. The pit for the local road has been dug and work on laying the the concrete base is underway. The abutments on either side also seem to be advancing.
  • 11 - Gortilea Road bridge - now that the beams have been installed, work on the diaphragm (which ties the beams together) is underway after which the deck itself can be built.
  • 18 - Feeny Road overbridge, Dungiven - Concrete making up the two abutments and centre pier will be poured this month. Once that's done the next stage will be a beam lift.
  • 21 - River Roe overbridge - Work is continuing on piling for the east abutment.
  • 22 - Priory Lane overbridge, which will carry the lane used to access Dungiven Priory over the new road, is located near the eastern terminus of the scheme. The abutments and central pier of this bridge are well advanced and the beams will be lifted at the end of March. See photos below.

Finally, time for the photos. All but two of these are by Paul McCloskey. I recommend following his Twitter feed for more updates.


Pic 1:
We start with this amazing aerial photo of the Owenrigh River bridge before the beam lift, with the Magheramore Road parallel to it and Teeavan Road heading up to the top right. You can see how Magheramore Road is temporarily diverted round the site of what will be a bridge to carry it over the new road. Teeavan Road, at the top, will be diverted to the right of the new road, so won't require a bridge. Photo taken early Feb 2020. [Les Ross]

Pic 2: Photo shared by DFI showing the beam lift taking place c14 Feb 2020. A large base has been constructed to spread the load of the crane to ensure that it doesn't collapse the river bank, with each beam weighing 135 tonnes. [DFI]


Pic 3. Photo taken from Teeavan Road (near the top edge of pic 1) on 8 March 2020 looking east along the route of the future dual-carriageway towards Dungiven Priory. The large cutting visible here will eventually be extended by removing Teeavan Road itself, once an alternative route has been built. The white sheeting ahead is to prevent silt entering the River Roe which is up ahead. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 4. Same location on Teeavan Road as pic 3, but turning round the other way and looking west, 8 March 2020. The flat area ahead is the future route of Teeavan Road which will be diverted to run alongside the new dual-carriageway.[Paul McCloskey]


Pic 5. Moving further along Teeavan Road, this is the view west on 8 March 2020 showing the beams now in place on the Owenrigh River bridge. Once the diversion for Teeavan Road has been built, the whole area on which the photographer is standing will be excavated to form a cutting for the new road. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 6. Moving briefly east to Priory Lane, near the eastern terminus of the scheme, this is the view east (from here) towards what will be the Magherabuoy Road roundabout on 8 March 2020. You can just see the street lights of the existing A6. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 7. Same location as pic 6 (here), but looking the other way (west), this is the two abutments and central pier for Priory Lane overbridge on 8 March 2020. The beams for this bridge will be lifted into place at the end of March. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 8. The pre-cast box sections in place for Derrychrier Road underbridge (here) on 8 March 2020, not long after being installed. The new road will eventually pass over this structure on an embankment. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 9. A view of Gortilea Road overbridge (here) with its beams in place on 28 February 2020. The new dual-carriageway runs parallel to the existing road here, but at a lower elevation, so this bridge is at "ground" level from the perspective of the existing road. [Paul McCloskey]

10 Feb 2020: From a famine to a feast! Since the last update we have been treated to a set of wonderful photos taken by AerialVisionNI which I reproduce below with a detailed commentary. If you want to see the full-res versions of the images you can get them on his Twitter feed, dated 5 Feb 2020. We are also treated to a wonderful aerial video of the Dungiven Bypass end of the scheme, which has been posted on Twitter by Sean Owens on 7 Feb 2020. The video starts on the existing A6 at Magherabuoy where the hill has now been fully excavated to reach the main road. Construction of the roundabout could begin before too long, though they may decide to wait until the new road is closer to completion. The video then turns west and follows the route of the Dungiven Bypass for 1.6 miles to Feeny Road. On the way it passes over the River Roe and the River Owenreagh. The latter is easily identified because it has a massive yellow crane adjacent to it, ready to lift the bridge beams into place. This lift was to have taken place last weekend but appears to have been thwarted by Storm Ciara. Hopefully the beam lift will be able to take place this week, as it is not cheap to hire a crane of this size, and you certainly don't want it sitting idle. A second video by Sean Owens focuses on the crane itself. Anyway, here are the photos. Thanks again to the AerialVisionNI!

Pic 1: View east along the future dual-carriageway from Feeny Road, Dungiven on 5 Feb 2020. Feeny Road is currently diverted around the work site on a temporary road to allow construction of the future flyover. The picture shows that the foundations of the bridge are now in place, with work on the abutments and central piers getting underway. On either side you can see two bridge beams being stored. These are not for Feeny Road, but rather for the bridge that will carry the new dual-carriageway over Owenrigh River. This is located where the yellow crane can be seen in the distance. They were due to be lifted into place during the weekend of 7-9 February, but this seems to have been delayed due to Storm Ciara. [AerialVisionNI]

Pic 2: Moving west to Foreglen, this is the view east through Ovil Hill cutting, the largest cutting on the whole scheme, on 5 Feb 2020. This was one of the first excavations to commence and it now appears to be completed, with the exposed rock on either side now landscaped with topsoil. The foundations of the road itself now seem to be under construction here. [AerialVisionNI]

Pic 3: View west from roughly the same location as picture 2, this is the view east along the future dual-carriageway on 5 Feb 2020. Foreglen village is on the right with the GAA pitch in the foreground. The underpass that will carry Altagarron beneath the new road appears to be largely completed, but not yet open to traffic, while the embankments for the new road are in place on either side. [AerialVisionNI]

Pic 4: Moving further west again, this is the view east along the future dual-carriageway at Ballyhanedin Road on 5 Feb 2020. At this point the new road will run adjacent to the current road, but at a lower elevation. Early works are underway on the bridge that will carry Ballyhanedin Road over the new road, but works on the foundations of the new road are not as advanced here as they are near Foreglen. [AerialVisionNI]

Pic 5: View west from roughly the same location as picture 4, this is the view west on 5 Feb 2020 with Gortilea Road in the foreground. Works on the bridge visible here are more advanced than they are at Ballyhanedin Road. Beyond this point little work has taken place on the future dual-carriageway, but its route is apparent in the fencing in the fields in the distance. [AerialVisionNI]

Pic 6: Fantastic view looking north of the future Baranailt Road grade-separated junction near Claudy on 5 Feb 2020. Baranailt Road is to be diverted to pass to the left of the buildings visible at the bottom of this image, and you can see a major excavation underway. This is to carry the realigned Baranailt Road beneath the new dual-carriageway, which will be built up on an embankment here. To the right of the excavation the foundations of the new road are underway, after the last of the vested properties here was recently demolished. From here to near Drumahoe the new road will run along the route of the existing A6, rather than to one side of it. [AerialVisionNI]

Pic 7: View looking east of the future Killaloo grade-separated junction (just west of Claudy) on 5 Feb 2020. This will feature two looped sliproads – one on the bottom right, shown partially constructed here, and one on the upper left. Connecting them will be a new bridge over the A6, the foundations of which can just be seen to the right of the blue lorry. On the left a new local access lane to provide access to the homes visible on the left appears to be completed and in use. [AerialVisionNI]

Pic 8: View north-west along the A6 on 5 Feb 2020 from beside Cumber Presbyterian Church and Brackfield Bawn, the latter of which is visible on the right. Here the new road curves to the right as it approaches Burntollet. This requires a major cutting into the hillside on the right as the much wider road needs to be accommodated on this site, as it can’t encroach on the River Faughan on the left. The layby visible on the left distance preserves the line of the original 19th century road, prior to the previous A6 upgrade in the 1960s and 70s. A new layby, of a more modern design, will be constructed here.  [AerialVisionNI]

Pic 9: View north over Burntollet Bridge on 5 Feb 2020. This is the most confined point on the entire scheme due to the protected woodland on the right and the protected River Faughan on the left. On the left you can see the historic Oaks Bridge which carries Ardmore Road. That bridge will be retained, but will be functionally replaced by a new, and considerably longer, bridge – construction of which can be seen to be underway adjacent to it. The 1960s Burntollet Bridge itself will be replaced by a new, wider structure, the foundations of which are taking shape here. It looks possible that the eastbound half of the bridge will be built first, and brought into use, after which the existing bridge will be demolished, allowing the westbound half of the new bridge to be completed. Finally, another cutting is visible ahead, as the new wider road has to be accommodated on the sloping terrain here. [AerialVisionNI]

Pic 10: View west towards the future Tamnaherin Road grade-separated junction on 5 Feb 2020, a couple of miles east of Drumahoe. Here all traffic is being diverted around the junction to allow construction of the bridge that will carry the new A6 over the junction. Although the diversion is temporary, the section of road in the foreground is actually permanent, as it will form part of a new local road link to Ervey Road once the new dual-carriageway is completed. From here to Drumahoe the new road once again leaves the route of the existing A6 and runs cross-country to its terminus. A short length of new road will be built to the left of the junction as seen here to connect the junction to the existing A6 into the city. [AerialVisionNI]

Pic 11: View west along the future dual-carriageway from above Liberty Glen (which will be the longest bridge on the scheme, though work has not yet begun on it) on 5 Feb 2020. Here the road runs in a shallow cutting, which currently seems to be being used to store spoil temporarily. Work on an accommodation bridge is visible half way along the cutting, to preserve access to the farm on the right. The existing road on the left here is Lismacarol Road. It is today a minor road but in the 1700s it was the principal route from Drumahoe towards Glenshane. [AerialVisionNI]

Pic 12: Same view as pic 11, but moving a few hundred metres west to the accommodation bridge under construction. It does not look as if it will be too much longer before the beams for this bridge can be put in place. The laneway visible just beyond the bridge will be closed and excavated once the bridge is completed. Feb 2020. [AerialVisionNI]

Pic 13: View of the temporary terminus of the scheme at Tirbracken Road on 5 Feb 2020. The new roundabout is taking shape here, with traffic on Tirbracken Road currently being diverted round the eastern side of it. The two carriageways will separate as they approach this junction (“splay”) to allow for its future continuation to Caw. For now this will mean that the area of land between the on and offslips will remain undeveloped. Right now it appears to be being used as a storage area for spoil. The flat area of land to the upper left of the roundabout is being developed as a park-and-ride facility. The eventual plan is that, under a separate contract, the dual-carriageway will be continued beyond this point and curve to the right into the distance to meet the A2 near Caw. For now, this is where all traffic will have to come off the new road. [AerialVisionNI]

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.