B62 Cullybackey Bypass

(also referred to as Cullybackey Throughpass)

 

Status
Construction scheme (proposed)
Where
To construct a new road to relieve the Main Street of Cullybackey, near Ballymena
Total Length
Approx 0.7 km / 0.4 miles dependant on route chosen
Dates

Has been proposed for many years

Planning permission granted for central portion - 2008

No indication that work will begin any time soon - as of 2011

Cost
2m as of 2002 - no current estimate available
Photos
None as yet - please contact me if you have any to contribute.
See Also

General area map - Google Maps

The town of Cullybackey, near Ballymena, had around 2400 residents in 2001. The structure of the narrow village main street makes it a significant bottleneck for traffic. A scheme to construct a throughpass to relieve the main street was considered for the current round of road improvements, but failed to meet the criteria. However, in 2008 a private developer agreed to construct the "central part" of the scheme as a condition of planning permission for a housing development in the town (although the planning application was later withdrawn). Previous information suggests this may represent 20% of the whole route. It seems that Roads Service have agreed to construct the sections at either end if this happens, and has apparently progressed a preliminary design. There is no indication of when work will commence, or indeed if it will at all, given the current economic climate.

Route

There is no comprehensive map of the route on the Internet. However, we do know that it will run east-west in the area of land to the north of Main Street but to the south of Kilmakevit Road/Tobar Park. Zoom in on the map linked above for an idea of where this is. A small portion of the route was visible on this property developer's web site at the time of writing in Feb 2009. This allows us to construct a speculative map of the proposed road, visible below. The dark red shows what we know is planned, while the light red is conjecture (and may be incorrect). If anyone can shed any more certainty on this, please get in touch.


View B62 Cullybackey Bypass in a larger map

Updates

26 Sep 2015: One of this scheme's champions, Paul Frew MLA, asked the DRD Minister about this scheme again in June 2015. (You may recall that Mr Frew made a proposal to build part of the scheme at an early date and the DRD Minister said that he would consider this - see previous update.) The Minister's reply was that "My officials are continuing to work on the design for this scheme and, at present, the junction strategy is being assessed". The term "junction strategy" is roads speak for "what type of junctions the road should have and where they should be". This reply makes no reference to Mr Frew's previous proposals so we don't know how they were received. The reply, and the length of time that has passed since we previously heard the DRD's comments on this scheme, and the fact that it really shouldn't take that long to assess the junction strategy on a scheme with a total length of 700 metres, suggests to me that very little is actually happening and that it is a low priority within the DRD. The Minister's reply also notes that "the Cullybackey Bypass is not currently included in any Departmental works programme" but that he has "asked my officials to continue to progress with the scheme design, as available resources permit". I would read this as merely meaning that the scheme remains a real proposal, but not one that they're planning to build in the near future.

16 Jul 2014: Three years after the previous update, this scheme seems as unlikely to be built soon as it was then. However, this has not stopped local politicians from continuing to keep it in the radar, most recently by Paul Frew MLA. In his piece, he quotes the "roads Minister as having said in late 2013 "I have asked my officials to carry out a review of the preliminary design for the Throughpass over the coming months and it is hoped this will be completed by the end of the current financial year [ie April 2014]. The review of this particularly complex scheme will address a number of issues, including your proposal [see below], and will consider the detailed design of the scheme, land acquisition issues, planning considerations, traffic management and funding constraints. I intend to write back to the minister now and ask if that work has now been completed." Mr Frew's proposal is that the DRD build the eastern part of the road as proposed, but link this to Kilmakevit Road, thereby providing a bypass-of-sorts by allowing traffic to go round the village centre via Kilmakevit Road (see map above). Roads Service would be unlikely to agree to such a proposal, as it would mean encouraging through traffic to go through previously self-contained residential streets, but it is at least encouraging that local representatives are still pressing for the scheme. In practice, it will probably require an economic upturn and resumption of property building to cause this scheme to proceed, since the DRD have always intended that the scheme would be privately funded to support development.

22 June 2011: This scheme was raised in Stormont during the Minister's Question Time yesterday. It is worth quoting the Minister at length: "I can advise that an agreed housing layout, which includes the construction of the central portion of the throughpass, received planning approval in June 2007. A revised planning application was submitted in July 2008, which also included the throughpass element, and was being processed by the Planning Service but has now been withdrawn by the developer. However, the original approval remains live. To date, the developer has not started work on the housing development, and there is no indication of when it might progress. The completion of the throughpass is not included in any current major works programme. However, Roads Service has stated its commitment to the completion of the remainder of the route and has progressed preliminary design of the throughpass." The Minister then went on to confirm that the policy on construction has not changed since 2008, ie that if the developer builds the middle section, then Roads Service will follow that up by building the bits at either end. He said "Roads Service has considered how the scheme might be provided. It would probably be in two or more parts, following on from the section to be constructed by the developer."