A6 Toome Bypass
Current dual-carriageway
Bypasses the village of Toome, a notorious bottleneck on the main A6 Belfast to Londonderry route.
Total Length
3.5km / 2.2 miles
15 March 2004
£18.7 million
See below for photos.
See Also

General area map (prior to construction of bypass).

Roads Service leaflet (PDF) on Toome Bypass which includes detailed map.

Roads Service web site on scheme.

The main Belfast to Londonderry road begins as the M2 motorway which then becomes the M22 as far as Randalstown. After this is a 7km section of substandard single carriageway to the village of Toome (sometimes called Toomebridge), followed by the remaining 40km or so as far as Londonderry. The village has always been a bottleneck to traffic on this route, and the large numbers of cars on the route have been a nuisance and danger to the residents.

The bypass was first proposed in the 1960s, and recommended in the 1984 Antrim Area Plan. In 1998 the government finally announced the plan to proceed. A year later a one-way traffic system was introduced to keep traffic flowing in the interim. Construction finally began in May 2002 and was completed in March 2004. The one way traffic system was withdrawn in September 2004.

The new road was completed to full dual-carriageway standard although with two roundabouts in very close proximity. Traffic levels upon opening were 22,000 vehicles per day. The effect on the village has been amazing - the traffic level has dramatically fallen, although some traders are missing out on the passing trade. The effect on drivers is mixed - since both roads at each end are single-carriageways there are peak time traffic jams at the merges. However this is only an interim measure until the M22 to Toome and Toome to Castledawson sections of the A6 are dualled (planned to be completed by 2010). See future schemes.

The other main point of note is the wonderfully elegant bow string bridge that carries the road over the River Bann. The river has a fragile ecology, and is famous for eels, so no foundations could be sunk into the river.


The start of the Toome Bypass, at the west of the village, looking north east towards the new bridge.

This beautiful new bowstring bridge carries the bypass over the River Bann. Hats off to the designers for resisting the urge to build a nondescript concrete bridge. It has been imaginatively named "Toome Bridge".

One of the two roundabouts that provide access to the village, this one at Roguery Road.

The "environmental screen" near to houses at the Belfast end of the bypass. It has yet to be planted.

Toome village centre, here seen prior to the removal of its redundant one-way system, is now very peaceful.