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 bypass around the south side of Dungiven (Phase 1) and then from Drumahoe to the A2 at Gransha, and an upgrade of the existing A2 dual-carriageway from Caw to Maydown (Phase 2).
Total Length
30.0 km / 18.8 miles
Dates

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

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

Feb 2007 - Preliminary route corridor selected.

May 2008 - Five route options published.

6 May 2009 - Preferred route announced.

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

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

ca End Mar 2013 - Inspector submitted Public Inquiry report.

24 Feb 2016 - Departmental Statement published.

21 Feb 2017 - Construction tender released.

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

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

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

Cost

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

(of which £220m for phase 1, Dungiven to Drumahoe) as of Mar 2018
(and £200m for phase 2, Drumahow to Gransha) as of Oct 2021

(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:

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.

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

4 Nov 2021: It has been over a month since my last update, mostly due to the busy-ness of life, but a lot of progress has been made. Most obvious from the photos is that most, though not quite all, of the road now has tarmac in place. You can see this most clearly in two aerial movies of the scheme. The first movie, at the western end, takes in the stretch from the start of the scheme at Drumahoe to Burntollet and was taken about a month ago by Sean Wilson. The second movie, at the eastern end, takes in the stretch from the terminus of the scheme at Dungiven as far as Foreglen, and was taken on 11 October by Benbradagh. The photos below include pictures/stills by both movie creators. However they are augmented by additional photos taken by Arthur Ming, Paul McCloskey, Pollyanne and AerialVisionNI. Thank you once again to all those who continue to share their photos with the wider public and allow me to reproduce them here. It is a fantastic way to make the scheme accessible to the interested public! In general news, at the Killaloo junction, access to Gulf Road on the south side of the new A6 was restored during October, though access to Gulf Road on the north side won't be provided until spring 2022. Ardmore Road will finally re-open across the new bridge in December, as will access to two local roads near Burntollet, Mavis Road and Ervey Road. Also, a reminder that the scheme that is currently underway is Phase 1 of a larger scheme. Phase 2, which is still in planning, would extend the road from Drumahoe, around the Waterside, to the A2 near Gransha. Phase 2 did not go ahead with phase 1 partly due to lack of funds, but also due to the unresolved issue of an illegal dump at Mobuoy Road, which lies exactly on the route of the scheme. This issue shows no sign of being resolved in the near future, with it looking increasingly likely that the illegal waste will remain in situ, leaving DFI with the choice of either more delay, or re-designing the scheme and risking having another public inquiry. The DFI Minister recently confirmed that the current estimated cost of Phase 2 is £200m for 5.2 km of road. This is similar to the cost for the Phase 1, which has a total length of about 24 km. If Phase 2 is ever assessed as a separate scheme (rather than Phase 2 of the existing scheme), then it is highly unlikely that it would pass a simple benefit/cost assessment. For this reason, I continue to be of the view that Phase 2 will not happen and that Lismacarol roundabout in Drumahoe will remain the permanent-temporary terminus of the dual-carriageway for the foreseeable future. Anyway, the photos below are arranged, as always, in order from west (Derry) to east (Dungiven).


Pic 1: The start of the scheme at Lismacarol roundabout on 3 Oct 2021, viewed from above the exiting A6 with the new Drumahoe park-and-ride on the bottom left. The roundabout is completed, but currently painted with an alternative lane layout until it comes into use. If Phase 2 of the scheme ever gets built, the dual-carriageway will continue to the left over this roundabout on a pair of bridges. [Sean Wilson]


Pic 2: Liberty Glen bridge, located about 1.5 km from Lismacarol roundabout, near the Belfray, seen on 16 Oct 2021, at which point work was well underway on the deck. Since this view was taken further work has taken place to build up the fill in the abutments at either end up to the level of the new road. The scale is hard to judge here, but the bridge is larger than it appears - it is the largest bridge on the scheme, over 150 metres in length. [Arthur Ming]


Pic 3: View of Tamnaherin Road junction on 3 Oct 2021, with the bridge now fully excavated and in use. Work on the local roads beneath and around the bridge is very evident, including a new roundabout at the bottom left. You can see how a loop of the old A6 will eventually be bypassed by the new road. This bit of road will be completely removed, though a new local road will be built across the site it occupied to preserve access to the existing Glenshane Road which will remain here for local access. Part of the temporary loop of road on the right (that traffic used for the past year) is now being removed. The site will then be excavated to build the eastbound offslip/onslip. [Sean Wilson]


Pic 4: Roughly the same location as pic 3, at Tamnaherin Road junction, but looking the other way on 3 Oct 2021. On the left is the other end of the temporary loop of road that traffic used for the past year. However this part of the loop will remain in use as the new "Ervey Road link" which will run parallel to the dual-carriageway from here to Burntollet, to provide local access. You can see its future extension taking shape in the gravel to the left of the new road. A local road, Mavis Road, will join the new road around here too, and it is due to re-open before the end of the year. [Sean Wilson]


Pic 5: Closeup of the excavation on the north side of Tamnaherin Road bridge on 17 Oct 2021. This will eventially carry a local road under the new A6 to the far side of the junction where there will be a roundabout, visible in pic 4. [Pollyanne]


Pic 6: Moving on to Burntollet, this is a telephoto shot of the approach to Ardmore Road bridge on 16 Oct 2021. This is interesting because it shows a series of pipes under the new road to provide additional flood relief in the Faughan River, over and above the bridge itself. The road itself seems to be build up higher still, with what looks like gabions or some other engineering structure to facilitate the steep slope. The locality will also feature a compensatory flood area (basically, an area for floodwater to gather to replace the area lost by the new road) and a flood attenuation pond. This whole area has been very challenging for engineers. [Arthur Ming]


Pic 7: Aerial view of Burntollet bridge itself on 4 Oct 2021. In this shot Ardmore Road is off screen to the lower left. All traffic is using the completed northern side of the new bridge, while the southern side is progressing well with the deck now being constructed. Sean notes how the new bridge is wider at this end than the far end - this is because the future westbound onslip to the A6 will terminate part way across the bridge, requiring an extra triangle of space on the bridge. The area occupied by the crane will eventually be reconstructed to provide a flood attenuation pond and compensatory flood storage area, as well as a local access laneway. [Sean Wilson]


Pic 8: Image of Burntollet bridge taken two weeks after pic 7, on 16 Oct 2021. This shows progress on deck construction with the brown material being steel reinforcement bars that have to be carefully laid out before the concrete deck is cast on top. [Arthur Ming]


Pic 9: View west along the new A6 from Gortilea Road bridge on 31 Oct 2021. This shows the base course of tarmac in place, the central reservation now surfaced too, ready for the central crash barrier, as well as tree planting and other landscaping. Other than the barrier, and a final wearing course of tarmac, there is not much more that needs to be done here. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 10: View east along the new A6 from Ballyhanedin Road bridge on 26 Oct 2021. Progress is similar to that at Gortilea Road, with a crash barrier in place along the right hand side here. I would expect to see central barrier works before too much longer. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 11: The new A6 passing Crock-na-brock Road, which is now permanently severed/closed, on 10 Oct 2021. In the distance you can see a flood attenuation pond and, beyond that, another local access laneway. [Benbradagh]


Pic 12: The new A6 well advanced as it passes through Ovil Hill cutting on 10 Oct 2021. A lot of work is evident at the top of the bank on the left. I do not know for sure, but it looks as if soft material, perhaps peat, is being deposited here. This may be a way to store surplus material from elsewhere on the scheme, or it may be part of environmental mitigation. [Benbradagh]

Pic 13: Aerial view of Killunaught Road bridge, one of the last bridges yet to be opened, with work underway on 10 Oct 2021. Note again the completed base course of tarmac along this whole stretch. [Benbradagh]


Pic 14: Aerial view of Feeny Road junction on the new A6 near Dungiven on 10 Oct 2021. Both sliproad pairs are now constructed and are getting their tarmac. There is now no sign of the temporary road that bypassed this site on the far side as the bridge was being built. [Benbradagh]


Pic 15: Aerial view of Magheramore Road bridge over the new A6, near Dungiven, on 2 Nov 2021. Magheramore Road is curently closed for two weeks to allow the final tie-in works to be completed on the left here. You can still see where the temporary road went while the bridge was being built. That road has now been largely removed. I love that a little stub of Teevan Road has survived in situ to the lower right in this shot, despite being severed by the new road! This is apparently to retain access to one field. [Benbradagh]


Pic 16: Aerial shot of the River Roe bridge near Dungiven on 02 Nov 2021, which continues to be a hive of activity due to the size of the bridge and the large approach embankments that are required. A flood attenuation pond can also be seen taking shape to the right of the bridge, as well as a local access lane passing beneath it. [Benbradagh]


Pic 17: Another view of the River Roe bridge on 29 Oct 2021. showing the height of the bridge over the river and the progress on the approach embankments. [AerialVisionNI]


Pic 18: This final shot shows the terminus of the scheme at Magherabuoy roundabout on 02 Nov 2021. All A6 traffic is now passing round the south side of the roundabout while the old bit of the A6 is torn up to be replaced by the other half of the roundabout. The two new local access roads are now both in use (Tracys Way to the left of the roundabout and Abbeyfields, to the right of the shot). [Benbradagh]

30 Sep 2021: The project has progressed well over the past month, with several important milestones happening at the various bridges as well as along the mainline of the road itself. At Liberty Glen, near the Belfray Inn at the Derry end of the scheme, the deck of the new bridge was poured during September. The same thing has happened at the River Roe bridge near Dungiven, which had its deck poured over the past week or so. Concrete pours are also planned on the decks of Killaloo bridge (around now) and the second half of Burntollet bridge (late Oct). Some other structures are even more advanced – the bridge at Tamnaherin Road opened to A6 traffic on 21 September, with traffic no longer using the temporary road that looped around the site. The bridges at Munreery Road and Killunaught Road are both almost ready, and just need the road surface completed before they can be opened. The Owenbeg river bridge, which will carry the main A6, is similarly far advanced. There is also progress at Ardmore Road bridge (which carries a local road over the Faughan River at an angle adjacent to the main Burntollet Bridge) which has now had its deck completed. At the Claudy junction, the "new" Baranailt Road that will carry local traffic under the new A6 looks very close to completion with just a final wearing course of tarmac and white lines needed. On the mainline itself, some sections of side crash barrier have appeared near Claudy, which is a substantial job that has yet to take place along much of the scheme. Traffic was also switched over to part of the new road (one lane each way) from Burntollet to Tamnaherin Road on 21 September. At the Dungiven end of the scheme, a lot of work is taking place at the future Magherabuoy Roundabout, the southern half of which is being surfaced this week. The temporary traffic management here has been causing a lot of disruption lately, but it looks to me as if traffic will be shifted onto the southern half of the new roundabout in the near future, which might help. Work can then take place on the northern half of the roundabout. My prediction is that the offline section of the scheme from Dungiven to Claudy will open to traffic sometime around the start of 2022 – but we shall see! Anyway, below are 18 photos which I using with grateful thanks to Martin Lynch, Benbradagh, Paul McCloskey, Arthur Ming, Pollyanne, Esther Harper and Derrylad. As always they're arranged in order from Derry to Dungiven.


Pic 1: Closeup of an abutment and beam at Liberty Glen bridge on 15 Sep 2021, prior to the deck being poured. The blue fittings are temporary falsework supporting a walkway for workers. [Arthur Ming]


Pic 2: View beneath Tamnaherin Road bridge on 17 Sep 2021. This bridge was constructed close to ground level and was then excavated. The vertical circular concrete structures are where a hole was bored into the ground and filled with concrete. These will be covered over to give a nicer appearance. [Pollyanne]


Pic 3: View over the top of Tamnaherin Road bridge (same bridge as previous shot) on 17 Sep 2021. It has been surfaced here and temporary armco barriers put down. Live traffic is now using this bridge. [Pollyanne]


Pic 4: Contractor getting ready to switch traffic onto a section of the new road between Burntollet and Tamnaherin Road on 21 Sep 2021. The switchover seems to have happened without any issues. [Derrylad]


Pic 5: Section of the new A6 near Claudy seen on 27 Sep 2021 with a crash barrier now in place on one side. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 6: View south under Baranailt Road bridge, Claudy on 6 Sep 2021. A6 traffic is currently using the bridge, but the road below is not yet open. However, it looks close to completion with a final wearing course of tarmac needed, plus lane markings. [Martin Lynch]


Pic 7: Claudt park-and-ride on 6 Sep 2021, with surfacing work well advanced and just some landscaping and probably lighting to do. [Martin Lynch]


Pic 8: View of the eastbound onslip to the new A6 at Baranailt Road junction, Claudy. Although traffic is using the road ahead, the junction itself is not yet open. The black waterproofing on the kerbstones shows the level that the tarmac will go up to. 12 Sep 2021 [Martin Lynch]


Pic 9: View north along the "new" Baranailt Road, Claudy, from the bridge on 12 Sep 2021. The road here is very well advanced. The T-junction on the left will lead to the eastbound off/onslip. [Martin Lynch]


Pic 10: View of the new A6 from Ballyhanedin Road bridge on 26 Sep 2021, showing drainage completed, road surface down and the site of the future central crash barrier being surfaced. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 11: View south into Killunaught Road from the main A6 on 26 Sep 2021. After a short distance this road passes over the new A6 on a bridge which has yet to open. This will probably happen within the next month. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 12: View west from Feeny Road bridge, Dungiven on 26 Sep 2021. You can just see the future eastbound offslip at the lower right. At this point the camber of the road means that the drainage channel for the westbound carriageway is located adjacent to the central reservation rather than at the side of the road. Hundreds of trees have been planted on the left. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 13: View west from Magheramore Road bridge, Dungiven, on 26 Sep 2021 showing more sections of crash barrier in place on both sides of the new road. The tarmac truck visible on the left gives a clue as to what work is taking place. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 14: Beautiful photo of the River Roe bridge on 30 Sep 2021 following the concrete pour for the deck. At some point in the past month the trees that were beneath the bridge appear to have been felled and replaced with banks of stones. The abutment on the right is being in-filled in this shot too. [Benbradagh]


Pic 15: Another view of the River Roe bridge, this time on 20 Sep 2021 prior to the concrete pour. This photo shows how high this bridge is compared to others on the scheme, with some substantial sections of scaffolding required. [Esther Harper]


Pic 16: This shot of the River Roe bridge was taken on 14 Sep 2021, prior to the concrete point, when two large cranes were in place to aid the work on the deck. They appear to have gone now. This shot is taken from the Priory Lane bridge, which is completed. The future A6 here is currently being used as a site yard for spoil. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 17: Magherabuoy Roundabout, Dungiven, seen on 30 Sep 2021. Tarmac has been laid here over the past week. I would assume that at some point soon A6 traffic will be diverted round the bottom of the roundabout here to allow the other side of the roundabout to be completed. You can also see a long, thin traffic island at the bottom - this is for a "jet lane" which will allow westbound traffic to continue straight onto the new A6 without having to stop at the roundabout. [Benbradagh]


Pic 18: View east from the new A6, looking towards the future Magherabuoy Roundabout. Ahead you can see the long, thin traffic island for the "jet lane". The larger island in the foreground is the central reservation. 26 Sep 2021 [Paul McCloskey]

29 Aug 2021: In the previous update one week ago (see below) I focused on the beam lift at Burntollet. In this update I look at the remainder of the scheme, with grateful thanks to Paul McCloskey and Benbradagh. Progress continues to be excellent with long stretches of the road within a few months of completion. Neither the contractor nor DFI has given any dates, but I would not be at all surprised if at least some of the road is open to traffic before Christmas. The main obstacles preventing the much-anticipated Dungiven Bypass stretch from opening soon are the unfinished River Roe bridge and the unfinished Magherabuoy roundabout. However both are progressing apace. Work is still continuing on several bridges: Liberty Glen (near Drumahow), Burntollet, Ardmore Road, Killaloo Road, Munreery Road, Killunaught Road, Owenbeg river and River Roe. All the other bridges are completed. From the point of view of the travelling public, the main point of note is the severe congestion that is being regularly caused by the construction of Magherabuoy roundabout on the eastern side of Dungiven.


Pic 1: View of the "new" Baranailt Road being constructed beneath the Claudy underpass on 23 Aug 2021. This view is looking south. All A6 traffic is currently driving across the new bridge. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 2: View east from Gortilea Road bridge (i.e. with Claudy behind the camera and Foreglen ahead) on 22 Aug 2021. The drainage channels are completed and the first layer of tarmac down, though the road has yet to get a central barrier and a second (wearing) course of tarmac. Note the new trees planted on the left. The future westbound carriageway is currently in use to store spoil. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 3: Same location as pic 2, but moving about 50 metres to the right, this is a new flood attenuation pond near Gortilea Road on 22 Aug 2021. These ponds store runoff from the road during heavy rain and release it slowly, so as to avoid overwhelming local watercourses. They allow time for particles (such as tiny bits of rubber) to settle out and not enter the watercourses. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 4: View east from the recently-completed Ballyhanedin Road overbridge on 22 Aug 2021. At this point the future central reservation has been surfaced with either concrete or some kind of gravel (it is hard to tell which from here). Again, this stretch just needs a final course of tarmac and a crash barrier, plus signage, and could then be opened. [Paul McCloskey]

Pic 5: View of the completed Ballyhanedin Road bridge, seen looking east on 19 Aug 2021. The bridge is now open to traffic. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 6: Looking east from around Crock na Brock Road (about 1 km from Foreglen) with the Ovil Hill cutting in the distance on 21 Aug 2021. Progress here is similar to pic 4, with a layer of gravel occupying the future central reservation. More trees have been planted on the left here and fencing seems to be in place too. [Paul McCloskey]



Pic 7: View west from Feeny Road bridge on 15 Aug 2021, showing work underway on the future eastbound offslip to this junction (the kink in the drainage channel is the deceleation lane, and then the offslip is heading off to the bottom right). Work here is a bit less advanced than elsewhere because the section in the foreground could not be built until the Feeny Road flyover was opened. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 8: View west from the Magheramore Road bridge showing another stretch of the Dungiven Bypass as it crosses the Owenrigh river. Like Feeny Road, the section in the foreground could not be built until the Magheramore Road flyover was opened. [Paul McCloskey]


Pic 9: Aerial shot of the River Roe bridge near Dungiven on 23 Aug 2021. Since the beams were installed work has been underway to add shuttering between and over the beams, and steel reinforcement is being added across the entire deck. Once this is completed a "diaphragm" will be built above each set of pillars/abutments to tie the beams together. After this there will be a concrete pour to form a bridge deck on top of which the road will be built. [Benbradagh]


Pic 10: Unusual vertical perspective on the western abutment of the River Roe bridge, seen on 23 Aug 2021. You can see the eight beams resting on the abutments. The hollow with the two yellow-clad workers will be filled with concrete to form the diaphragm, which will serve to hold the beams together. The abutment itself will be in-filled with earth/gravel (or, if weight is an issue, polystyrene blocks) and the road built on top. You an also clearly see the shuttering between each beam and covering the hollow top of each beam. The shuttering will eventually be buried under the road deck, forming its base. [Benbradagh]


Pic 11: Side view of the River Roe bridge on 23 Aug 2021. Construction rules mean that contractors are no longer permitted to put machinery into watercourses, so the vegetation along the river is so far unaffected by the bridge works. You can see that the western abutment (on the left) has already been filled in, whereas this has yet to be done on the eastern side. [Benbradagh]

22 Aug 2021: This is a brief update to draw attention to two recent events - firstly, the installation of the beams on the second half of the new bridge at Burntollet, and secondly the opening of Ballyhanedin Road overbridge. First, at Burntollet, six steel bridge beams were brought to the site in stages in early 2021 from Victor Buyck's construction site in Belgium. Once they arrived here they were then connected together to form three pairs of beams. Each pair is 80 metres long, 6 metres wide, 3.4 metres high and weighs around 270 tonnes. The lift coincided with poor weather, and two were craned into position by a mobile crane in the week of 2 August while the last was put in place on 9 August. The lift is shown in the images below. Also shown is the Burntollet Woodland Trust accommodation bridge. This is a wooden structure that sits beneath the main Burntollet bridge and will allow pedestrian access along woodland paths on both sides of the river. I had thought that this smaller bridge would not be put in place until the Burntollet bridge was completed, but the contractor seems to have chosen to put it in place ahead of the beam lift, presumably for ease of access. This is another milestone - it means that all bridge beams for the scheme are now in place, so well done to the contractor. At Ballyhanedin Road overbridge (a side road that passes over the new dual-carriageway between Claudy and Foreglen) the bridge was opened to traffic on or around 19 August. With thanks to Paul McCloskey for spotting this. Paul has also shared a number of pictures along the scheme today, which I don't have time to share here, but you can see them on his Twitter feed. There are rumours that part of the scheme (particularly the stretch including the Dungiven Bypass and possibly as far as Claudy) may open to traffic before the end of 2021. This has NOT been stated by the contractor or DFI, so remains a rumour. However the degree of progress being made means that it is quite plausible.


Pic 1: The final pair of beams being craned into position at Burntollet Bridge on 9 August 2021. It is hard to get a sense of scale here, but the height of each beam is about the same as two adults standing on top of each other! [DFI]


Pic 2: Underneath view of the three pairs of beams on 9 August 2021. You can see here the bracing that was welded between each pair to hold them together. On the left you can see the beam pairs that were put in place last year for the first half of this bridge. Also visible under the main beams is the Burntollet Woodland Trust accommodation bridge, which was also craned into place in the last few weeks. Although it looks like a steel bridge, it's actually made of timber. The abutments for this pedestrian bridge partly re-use the abutments for the original 1950s bridge that used to stand at this spot. [DFI]

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