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

17 May 2020: We are spoiled for photographs and aerial footage in this update, thanks to various people who are taking photos and allowing me to share them here. You'll also find these folks on Twitter. This month we must thank Alan Lynas, Dee Logue, Polly Lynch, Esther Harper, Paul McCloskey and Sky Photography. I'm going to share 17 photos this time (must be some kind of record), and to make sense of them I'm starting at Derry and working east. I'll include the commentary in the captions.


Pic 1: This shot of the new Park-and-ride facility at Drumahoe on 17 May 2020 shows that kerbing in place and almost ready for tarmac to be laid. This element of the scheme is likely to open in advance of the main dual-carriageway, perhaps sometime this summer. [Dee Logue]


Pic 2: Surcharging in place at Tamnaherin Road junction, between Drumahoe and Burntollet, on 26 April 2020. The future road will run straight ahead here, while all traffic is being diverted to the right. Surcharging is the addition of extra material to speed up the settlement of soft ground. [Polly Lynch]

Pic 3: The 1957 Burntollet Bridge as seen on 16 May 2020. On the left the white sheet covers the remains of the late 18th century "old" bridge which was demolished last summer. The foundations for one of the new abutments for the future bridge is in the centre of shot, with the other abutment being off shot to the left. Due to the fact that the new bridge shares a footprint with the 1957 bridge, the plan is to build the eastbound half of the bridge first, then demolish the 1957 bridge and build the westbound half in its place. [Alan Lynas]

The whole Burntollet area is covered in this amazing aerial movie, released on 7 May 2020. The footage also shows the approaches from either direction. At 3:40 the movie then turns to the nearby Ardmore Road bridge, which will functionally replace the older Oaks Bridge that's also visible, though the older bridge will be retained in this case. There's a good overhead view at 4:30. [Sky Photography]


Pic 4: At the future Claudy junction (Baranailt Road), the beams on the new bridge that will carry the dual-carriageway over the local road were craned into place during the first week of May. The shot above was taken by Paul McCloskey before this happened, on 26 April 2020. There's a great shot of the bridge a week later with the beams in place here. There's also a great aerial movie of this entire junction here, taken by Sky Photography before the beams were put in place, that gives an excellent overview of the site.


Pic 5: This view of Gortilea Road bridge was taken from the existing A6 on 11 May 2020, with Gortilea Road visible in the distance. This bridge will carry this local road over the new dual-carriageway. The beams were put in place last month and the contractor is currently starting the wingwall construction (triangular retaining walls beside the abutments) and backfilling to build the road height up. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 6: The next bridge to the east of Gortilea Road is Ballyhanedin Road bridge, which will carry this local road over the new dual-carriageway. Work here is less advanced - the photograph above shows what looks like the central pillars of the future bridge with the existing A6 on the embankment behind. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 7: Moving now to east of Foreglen village, this picture was taken at the site of the future Killunaught Road bridge, near Ovil Hill on 3 May 2020. At this point the new road will run in a cutting below ground level. This is the view west from Killunaught Road towards Ovil Hill, showing the cutting being excavated. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 8: Same location as above, this is the view east from Killunaught Road looking towards Dungiven on 17 May 2020, showing the foundations of the new dual-carriageway well underway. In the distance is a very large crane. It's hard to see where this is from this view, but it might be at Feeny Road junction which is due to get its beams lifted into place during May. [Esther Harper]

Pic 9: The cutting works at Killunaught Road seem to involve the relocation of a water main as shown in this view taken on 17 May 2020. [Esther Harper]

Pic 10: Also near Ovil, the contractor seems to have been building an on-site batching plant for making asphalt, adjacent to the existing A6, as seen in this shot taken on 10 May 2020. Presumably it's cheaper to build this on site than ship in huge quantities of ready-made asphalt from elsewhere. This implies that we're going to be seeing blacktop being laid in large quantities before too long. [Esther Harper]


Pic 11: This view was taken near Ovil on 17 May 2020 and shows that the planned planting of trees along the new road is already underway [Esther Harper].

Pic 12: This view was also taken near Ovil on 17 May 2020, and shows the foundations of a stretch of the new dual-carriageway well underway, with a drainage ditch to one side. [Esther Harper]


Pic 13: Moving slightly further east, this is the Derrychrier Road underpass largely completed as seen on 7 May 2020. It's not yet open to traffic. The metalwork on the right is the reinforcement for one of the the wingwalls. This structure will eventually be covered with an embankment that will carry the new road. [Esther Harper]

Pic 14: Moving further east again, as we enter the Dungiven Bypass section of the new road, this is site of the future Fenny Road grade-separated junction on 11 May 2020. The central bridge pillars and two abutments were ready for beam installation when this picture was taken, and the lifting work is due to be carried out during May, if it hasn't already happened. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 15: Moving further east again to Magheramore Road, the contractor was diverting Teeavan Road onto its new alignment (shown above on 11 May 2020) this weekend. This will allow the "old" Teeavan Road to be excavated to complete the large cutting that is needed here to accommodate the future dual-carriageway. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 16: Meanwhile, work seems to have finally started on the nearby Magheramore Road bridge which will carry this local road over the new dual-carriageway. The picture above shows the site (with the "old" Teeavan Road bank behind it) on 11 May 2020. Work this month will focus on the foundations for the two abutments and central pillars. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 17: Finally, this is a telephoto shot towards Priory Lane bridge in Dungiven, near the eastern terminus of the scheme, on 17 May 2020 showing its beams in place, as well as the completed cutting that will lead onto the future Magherabuoy Roundabout on the existing A6. Work is now underway on the diaphragm (which joins the beams together) and deck of the Priory Lane bridge. The vertical rods visible at the lower left are piling works underway for the western abutment of the future River Roe bridge. [Esther Harper]

21 Apr 2020: The purpose of this update is to let you know about two new movies that are available on YouTube. The first is a series of aerial shots (available here) taken from a drone on the eastern part of the scheme, between Foreglen village and Dungiven. Thank you to Sky Photography for making this available. I have provided a commentary on the video below, where the numbers refer to the times in the video that the items appear. The second movie is this one, by Ciaran, who has overlaid the plans for each section of the dual-carriageway onto Google Earth imagery, for the entire scheme from Maydown to Dungiven (though note that the first bit from Maydown to Drumahoe is not being built in the current construction phase). A lot of work has gone into this, thank you Ciaran. Two photos are also given at the bottom of this update, with thanks to our man on the ground, Paul McCloskey. The commentary below gives some detail of progress on major structures in the Foreglen-Dungiven area. The following is the latest news from the contractor on the other major structures currently underway on the scheme:

  • McCay’s Accommodation bridge (near Drumahoe) – has its beams in place and work has started on the bridge deck.
  • Burntollet bridge – on a very difficult site, slope stabilisation is complete and work has started on the abutments of the new bridge, which will replace the current one.
  • Ardmore Road bridge (carrying a local road near Burntollet over the river) – the piles for the abutments are in place, and work on the abutments themselves has begun.
  • Killaloo overbridge (for the new junction west of Claudy) – work is still underway on the south abutment, with the north abutment yet to begin.
  • Claudy underbridge (which will carry the dual-carriageway over Baranailt Road) – beams are to be installed within the next month.
  • Gortilea Road overbridge – had its beams put in place last month. Work is now underway on the deck and wingwalls (retaining walls on either side of the abutments).
  • River Roe bridge, Dungiven – piling work for the eastern abutment is complete and work is underway on the western abutment. See pic 1 below.
  • Priory Lane overbridge, Dungiven – had its beams put in place last month. Work is now underway on the deck. See pic 2 below.
  • Several other structures are discussed in the commentary below.

Commentary on the aerial video:

  • 0:10 Starting near the village of Foreglen, this is the view west at the Altagarran Road underpass which is completed but not yet open to traffic. The hardcore foundation of the dual-carriageway is being laid over it.
  • 0:34 Culvert for a small watercourse visible going beneath the embankment. Beyond is a new residential/agricultural access laneway preserving access to a property.
  • 0:50 Now heading west towards the Ovil Hill cutting, the largest cutting on the whole scheme.
  • 1:30 Entering Ovil Hill cutting, which is now completed and the hardcore foundation for the road now laid. The sides of the cutting have been cut into terraces for stability. In due course the embankments will be covered with vegetation. The rock from this cutting was used as fill elsewhere on the scheme.
  • 2:08 Turning back west and heading back towards Altagarran Road. The road will be on an embankment from where it exits Ovil Hill cutting.
  • 3:08 Looking north east towards Foreglen village along Altagarran Road. The road here is currently closed but will likely be reopened this year.
  • 3:33 Now jumping about 4 km east towards Dungiven, this is the Derrychrier Road underbridge which, like Altagarran Road, is a box structure over which the embankment for the new dual-carriageway will be constructed. On the right is the foundation for a new agricultural access road.
  • 3:57 With the box structure completed works here are focused on the north wingwall (bottom left) and south wingwall (upper right). Wingwalls are often triangular in shape and hold back the edges of embankments beside the entrance to a bridge or tunnel.
  • 4:27 Contractor’s van proving that it’s possible to drive through the underpass! We seem to love this underpass, so the next two-and-a-half minutes are an aerial tour around the structure looking at it from all angles.
  • 7:10 On the top surface you can see the metal brackets that were used to attach the box sections to the crane when they were being laid.
  • 7:30 Jumping a further 1.5 km east this is Feeny Road near Dungiven. There will be a grade-separated junction here with sliproad pairs to the bottom left and top right. Feeny Road has been temporarily diverted around the site in order to keep it open during the works.
  • 7:45 Feeny Road flyover – you can see the two abutments and the central piers of the future flyover here. The beams are due to be placed during May.
  • 8:00 The large gap in the embankment on the right is where the westbound sliproad pair will leave/join the future dual-carriageway.
  • 8:30 Continuing to head east along the future dual-carriageway towards the Owenrigh River bridge. Dungiven town is off to the left.
  • 8:43 Turning back to fly back west to Feeny Road junction. Part of the site beyond the junction is currently flooded. As it is currently very dry, this is presumably a deliberate result of drainage management during the works.
  • 9:15 Jumping another 1.5 km east this is the Owenrigh River bridge with its bridge beams in place and the diaphragm under construction. The diaphragm is the structure that holds the bridge beams together. The deck itself will be built on top of that. This is a very wide bridge, as it has to carry four traffic lanes plus a central reservation. There’s an incredible amount of steel rebar visible here – this structure is being built to last! The temporary ‘bailey’ bridge on the left will probably be removed once the bridge is completed.
  • 10:00 This angle illustrates the significant skew that this bridge has. Beyond the bridge is the temporary route of Magheramore Road which has been diverted around the site of a new flyover that will eventually carry it over the dual-carriageway. Work on this bridge has yet to begin.
  • 11:40 Turning east along the route of the future dual-carriageway. Currently Teeavan Road crosses the site (where the tractor is driving) but it is to be diverted to the right along the road visible in the centre of the shot. Once it’s been diverted, the ‘old’ Teeavan Road will be closed and the remaining section of cutting excavated. The camera then flies along the ‘new’ Teeavan Road, which looks close to getting blacktop laid.
  • 12:22 And turning round to fly west again for the final seconds. Thank you Sky Photography!

Pic 1: View east from Teeavan Road on 19 April 2020, towards the piling works for the River Roe bridge. The new road will run towards the camera here in a cutting. Teeavan Road is being re-routed and, once that’s done, the embankment on which the photographer is standing will be cut away to extend the cutting. The white sheets are material designed to reduce mud runoff into the river. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 2: Priory Lane bridge as seen on 11 April 2020, with its beams in place. You can see that the hardcore base for the dual-carriageway is also being put in place. [Paul McCloskey]

10 Apr 2020: Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, some work appears to be ongoing on the scheme and there is some progress to report. Near Dungiven, the realignment of Teeavan Road has progressed well in the past two weeks. Picture 1 below shows this seen from the air. The piling work for the abutments of the River Roe bridge (one of three river crossings near Dungiven) is now completed on the eastern side, and has now begun in the western side. In the month since the beams were lifted into place on the nearby Owenrigh River bridge, the work on the deck of the bridge appears to have advanced well, as can be seen at the bottom right of picture 2 below. Another beam lift took place during the week - this time at the Priory Lane overbridge near the terminus of the scheme in Dungiven. This bridge will allow continued access to Dungiven Priory. After the lift there appears to have been some kind of accident involving a crane toppling over, resulting in the Air Ambulance visiting the scene. Hopefully everybody is OK. At the western end of the scheme, work on realigning the existing A6 Glenshane Road at Drumahoe to meet the new Lismacarol roundabout is continuing. This can be seen in pictures 3 and 4 below. With thanks to Paul McCloskey, Dee Logue and Les Ross in particular for keeping us updated. Mark Lusby recently shared a shot of the works underway near Brackfield Bawn (near Burntollet) here, while Paul McCloskey shared a shot of the Derrychrier Road underpass box structure apparently completed here.


Pic 1: Shot looking north-east from above Teeavan Road (left-right in centre of shot) on 2 April. Dungiven is on the upper left. The white sheeting (designed to prevent mud washing into the river) marks the site of the River Roe overbridge. You can see the piles now in place on the eastern abutment, with a pile driver working on the western abutment. The cutting for the A6 on the left is currently blocked by Teeavan Road, but you can see the route of the realigned route of Teeavan Road taking shape at the bottom. Once diverted, the cutting will be completed. [Les Ross]
Pic 2: Same shot as above, but moving further west to above Magheramore Road (bottom left to middle right). Magheramore Road is currently on a temporary alignment so that a bridge can be built (to the left of where the white van is in centre of shot). Once the bridge is completed the road will be put across it and the current realignment will be removed. You can also see the realigned Teeavan Road taking shape. On the bottom right you can see the deck of the Owenrigh River overbridge taking shape, with a temporary "works" bailey bridge beside it. 2 Apr 2020. [Les Ross]

Pic 3: View of the Tirbracken Road junction with the A6 at Drumahoe on 9 Apr 2020, with Derry city to the left. The A6 is being realigned onto the embankment that can be seen in the distance to meet the new Lismacarol roundabout, the "temporary" terminus of the scheme, that is being built to the right of this shot. [Dee Logue]

Pic 4: Moving a bit further west along the A6 in the Derry direction, and then looking back east this is the view up the embankment visible in pic 3. The A6 will be realigned onto this embankment. Interestingly, this will restore the road to the older alignment that it had in the 18th century, when the main route to Dungiven from Derry continued along what is now Lismacarol Road, before it was replaced by the current Glenshane Road in the 19th century. [Dee Logue]

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. Nevertheless, 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 currently 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.