A99 (A3?) Millennium Way Phase 2, Lurgan

 

Status
Construction scheme (current)
Contractor
Gibson (Banbridge) Ltd
Where
To extend Millennium Way, Lurgan, south east to meet Gilford Road
Total Length
0.6 km / 0.4 miles
Dates

Proposed since at least the 1970s
Promised (for example) in 1976

Phase 1 opened - Dec 2002

Planning permission granted 2006, renewed - Jan 2012
Planning permission for altered route granted - Mar 2014
Land purchased via a Vesting Order - 23 Mar 2015

Went out to tender - Dec 2015 (as of Aug 2015)
Contract awarded - 15 Apr 2016 to Gibson (Banbridge) Ltd

Work began - 23 May 2016

Completion due - Late May 2017 (as of Apr 2017)
(changed from "April 2017" as of Feb 2017; change from "to take 6 months to complete hence completion late Nov 2016" as of Oct 2015)

Cost

£5.7m (as of Apr 2017)

See Also

General area map - Google Maps

See also map below

Millennium Way Phase 1 on this site

Click here to jump straight down to updates for this scheme.

Phase 1 of the Millennium Way link road, which opened in 2002, allowed it to quickly meet its primary objective - the redevelopment of the lands to the south west of Lurgan town centre. However for it to meet its secondary goal - to take traffic away from the congested town centre, the road really needed to be extended a little further east, to the Gilford Road / Banbridge Road junction which are two of the primary destinations of traffic travelling along the main street. The map below shows the approximate route of the extension as of February 2014. Since the junction of Banbridge Road and Gilford Road is built up, this scheme involved more vesting of property than phase 1 did.


View Millennium Way Phase 2 Lurgan in a larger map

Updates

13 Apr 2017: The new road is essentially complete at the western (Malcolm Road) end and work is now underway to complete the roundabout at its eastern (Flush Place/Gilford Road) end. This has required a closure of part of Flush Place, and as a consequence traffic was routed along the new road from the morning of Monday 10 April, initially westbound and then, later in the day, eastbound. TransportNI had issued a press release noting that diversions would be in place all this week with Millennium Way used as part of the diversion. The press release does NOT say what will happen after this week - it's possible that the road will then close again for a period. Either way, it was an exciting time for road users to be able to try out this relatively short but potentially very useful stretch of road. The press release says that project completion is now timetabled for "late May", about six months later than originally planned. The six photos below were taken by two different people (thank you) on 10 April. Interestingly, the new signage on the road indicates that the new road bears the number "A3" rather than "A99" as phase 1 has been designated for the past decade. Since the existing main street is the current A3, this strongly suggests that Lurgan town centre will be de-trunked and lose the A3 number once the new link is completed. This means the rather odd number "A99" may well be about to disappear back into the illogic that it came from! With thanks also to John Campbell for information on this week's events.


Starting at the western end this is the view east from the existing Millennium Way, across Malcolm Road (to the left ahead) and then onto the new road on 10 April 2017. Cars can be seen emerging from the new stretch of road. [Mark Turkington]

The newly enlarged signalised junction between Millennium Way and Malcom Road is huge - an absolute forest of traffic islands, pedestrian barriers and traffic signals, interlaced by multiple traffic lanes. It looks as if a pedestrian crossing the junction in this direction will have to negotiate four separate crossings in sequence. 10 April 2017. [Mark Turkington]

View west from half way along the colourful new section of Millennium Way showing that it features one lane each way with a generous central hatched area, brightly-surfaced green cycle path, red edge markings and yellow parking restriction lines. 10 April 2017. [Mark Turkington]

This view looking west from Flush Place shows that this end of the road is still incomplete, though being used this week by vehicles as a diversion route. 10 April 2017. [Anonymous contributor]

At Flush Place the new roundabout is taking shape in stages as traffic management allows - here we see one half of the central island in place on 10 April 2017. [Anonymous contributor]

Contractor busy putting down blacktop surfacing on 10 April 2017 - perhaps as part of temporary traffic management. This is the area where the newly enlarged roundabout is being built. [Mark Turkington]

22 Feb 2017: Four months on from the previous update, and work is still ongoing on this scheme. TransportNI issued a press release at the start of the year warning that the work to tie-in either end of the new road to the existing road network would be commencing on 9 January, and that's what been happening. A second press release yesterday updated this to note that Flush Place (at the Gilford Road end) will be closed for two weeks from 27 February. It also confirms that completion is now scheduled for April. The pictures below were taken by a contributor who prefers to remain anonymous (thank you) about a fortnight ago and show the works to tie-in the Russell Drive end of the scheme seen from three different angles at that time. At this point Russell Drive/Malcolm Road was entirely closed to facilitate the works.


View south from Malcolm Road along Russell Drive c5 Feb 2017. The road here is closed to allow the tie-in to the new road (which heads off to the left). This is the same view before work began.

View east along the existing part of Millennium way towards the junction with Malcolm Road and hence the new road, c5 Feb 2017. This is the same view before work began.

View south along Russell Drive from Transa Way towards Malcolm Road and the junction with the new road (which heads off to the right), c5 Feb 2017. This is the same view before work began.

19 Oct 2016: In my previous update a month ago I noted good progress on much of the scheme but that nothing had so far happend at the Gilford Road, where the existing roundabout is to be enlarged. TransportNI issued a press release two days ago to comment that progress has been "slower than expected" both here and at the other end, on Russell Drive. They explain that "Both junctions contain a significant amount of utility provider equipment and despite considerable advance works the necessary alteration and diversion of this equipment has been protracted and has proved more challenging than anticipated". When rebuilding a road, the various utilities (such as phone cables, electricty wires, sewers, water mains) all need diverted partly so that they don't get damaged, and partly to ensure they are still accessible once the road has been moved. Only the owners of the utilites can move them, so this involves close work between the utility companies, TransportNI and the contractor. So it sounds as if this process has not been plain sailing, and that more time than anticipated is needed for all this work to be done. The press release goes on to anticipate completion in "Spring 2017". We had previously anticipated November 2016, so if we were being generous and took Spring to mean "March" then that would represent a four month delay.

14 Sep 2016: I was in Lurgan yesterday and just managed to get some pictures of Millennium Way before the sun set. They show that progress continues to be good. Work on the tie-ins at the Russell Drive end (west) and the Gilford Road end (east) are ongoing, but there are no changes as yet to the signalised junction at the former, and no sign of work to enlarge the roundabout at the latter.


Pic 1: View looking north from Russell Drive on 13 Sep 2016 with Phase 2 of Millennium Way heading off to the right. Ahead you can see kerbing now in place for the traffic islands at the junction. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 2: Walking forwards from the previous shot and turning to the right, this was the view east along Millennium Way Phase 2 on 13 Sep 2016. The triangular island in the foregound separates a left-turn filter lane. Note the drainage contained in the kerb, something TransportNI have got very keen on in recent schemes as it negates the need for metal grilles in the road. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 3: Moving to the Gilford Road end of the scheme, this is the view north towards the existing roundabout on 13 Sep 2016. It is to be enlarged but so far, other than some painted lines on the footpath, there is no sign of this work commencing yet. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 4: Finally, in fading light, this was the view west along Millennium Way Phase 2 from Gilford Road on 13 Sep 2016. [Wesley Johnston]

30 Aug 2016: We are now half way through the six month construction period for this scheme and progress has been very good. The photos below were all taken by on 22 August by a contributor who prefers to remain anonymous (thank you) and show the progress at both ends of the scheme (from Russell Drive at the west end and Gilford Road at the east end). The photos show that the kerbs and street lighting columns are now in place along the bulk of the scheme, so presuambly the drainage system is also in place. Work now seems to be focused on (a) the subsurface of the road itself and (b) enlarging the existing Gilford Road roundabout at the eastern end, which seems to be well underway.


View north-west along Millennium Way Phase 2 from Gilford Road roundabout on 22 August 2016. The road is well formed up ahead, while the large area of stones in the foregound will eventually be part of the enlarged Gilford Road roundabout. TransportNI are adding nice red-brick feature walls on either side of Millennium Way which is a nice touch. [Anonymous contributor]

Taking a few steps back grom the previous shot, this is the north-west along Millennium Way Phase 2 looking across Gilford Road where it meets the existing roundabout (off shot to the right) on 22 Aug 2016. This rounabout is being enlarged. The lines on the footpath either mark the location of underground services, or they are indicators of where the relocated kerbline should go. This is the same view taken in May 2016. [Anonymous contributor]

Moving to the other end of the scheme, this is the view south east along Millennium Way Phase 2 from Russell Place on 22 Aug 2016. The road is well-defined along its middle stretch, but this location - where the existing signalised T-junction will become a cross-roads - still shows evidence of a lot of ongoing work. This is the same view taken in May 2016. [Anonymous contributor]

4 Jun 2016: We now have our first shots of work underway, with grateful thanks to Martin Young who visited on 1 June. Both pictures are taken from Russell Drive, ie the western side of the scheme (see map above). It is great to see work finally underway on this scheme almost 14 years after the completion of Phase 1. The scheme should be completed by late November 2016.


Pic 1: View north-east along Russell Drive on 1 Jun 2016 showing the site of the derelict houses that have now been removed to make way for the road. Millennium Way Phase 1 currently approaches from off frame to the left and ends at the junction just visible on the left of this shot, where the painted arrows are. It will continue to the right, between the photographer and the industrial building. [Martin Young]


Pic 2: Walking forward about 50 metres from Pic 1, to the Millennium Way Phase 1 junction, this is the view east along the line of the new road on 1 Jun 2016. The high mast lights on the right are for the pitches beside Lurgan Junior High School. The new road will run alongside the fence visible here. [Martin Young]

30 May 2016: The main construction contract got underway a week ago, on Monday 23 May as reported in the Lurgan Mail and then in a press release by the new Department for Infrastructure (DFI, which has now replaced the Department for Regional Development). The picture below was released by the DFI on 26 May. It is not captioned, but the person on the left is the new Minister for Infrastructure Chris Hazzard (Sinn Féin) who is settling into his new job. The background is presumably the site of the Millennium Way Phase 2 showing signs of lots of activity. With a construction period of six months, and starting on 23 May, we can expect completion by late November 2016.


The new Minister for Infrastructure Chris Hazzard (left) with two other un-named people (possibly representatives of TransportNI and/or the contractor, Gibson (Banbridge) Limited. [Dept for Infrastructure image]

24 Apr 2016: The construction tender for this scheme was awarded to Gibson (Banbridge) Ltd on 15 April - congratulations. Construction is likely to get underway very soon. To this end, the row of derelict terraced houses that have sat for many years on Malcolm Road has finally been demolished - see image below. These houses stood in the way of the eastward extension of Millennium Way. Construction is due to last approximately six months, so we can expect to see completion around Hallowe'en – almost 14 years after Phase 1 opened in December 2002.

View south along Malcolm Road on 23 April 2016 showing the row of terraced houses now demolished. The existing A99 Millennium Way runs to the right of the shot here, and the extension will run to the left through where the rubble is. This is the same view before work began. [Chris Scott]

31 Jan 2016: The tender to construct this scheme ended on 28 January, so we will hopefully see a contractor appointed within the next month or two. The DRD Minister mentioned the scheme in a Written Answer (AQW 52171/11-16) in the Assembly last week, where she said "It is anticipated that construction of this scheme will commence in May / June 2016 subject to funding being made available". The money has still not been allocated, but the scheme is so cheap (relatively speaking) that it is very likely to get funding. In addition, the DRD tend not to put schemes like this one out to tender unless they're fairly confident of getting the funding. So I think we're likely to see work begin on Phase 2 of Millennium Way by the summer. Welcome news for Lurgan.

19 Dec 2015: This scheme is continuing to edge closer to construction. The tender for construction was released during the past week, with a closing date of 28 January 2016. It does not seem to have been advertised more widely around the EU, probably due to its relatively small scale, so this should simplify the tender process. With a fair wind we could see a contractor appointed by March with construction likely to begin fairly quickly after this. Good news for Lurgan, 13 years after the completion of Phase 1!

29 Oct 2015: The DRD has published their most recent procurement plan, and it lists this scheme. It gives the construction cost as £2m though note that this is not the total project cost, which also includes planning and land acquisition. It states that the contract should be awarded in March 2016 with a total construction period of 6 months. Schedules like this have a habit of slipping, so don't be surprised if it gets delayed beyond March 2016, but let's hope for the best case scenario nonetheless.

14 Aug 2015: The DRD web site is now listing this scheme on its "Future Tenders" list. This is the list of construction projects which the DRD think are likely to be put out to contractors in the near future. The date being given as of today is "November 2015". Procurement of road schemes usually takes anything up to 9 months, with construction generally commencing very quickly after a contractor has been appointed. I would caution that tenders listed on the "Future Tenders" page have a tendency to get deferred several times, so in practice it may slip into 2016, but even if it were to slip by a few months it's plausible that construction of this scheme could be underway by late 2016, which would be great news for Lurgan. The cost estimate is being given as £2m. This is likely to be the construction cost only, the overall project cost also including things like land acquisition and design costs.

3 May 2015: The DRD Minister was asked about this scheme in the Assembly on 21 April. He confirmed the making of the Vesting Order on 23 March (see previous update below) and this became live on 28 April. When pressed on when the scheme might be built, he noted that there was currently no money allocated for construction, but that "if funding is available, it is expected that construction could commence in spring 2016 and would take approximately six months to complete". I'm not sure how seriously to take this as an actual timescale, and how much it is merely wishful thinking, but the fact that he is prepared to at least hazard a timescale, and because the Vesting Order has now been made, suggests that it's not going to be too far into the future.

25 Mar 2015: The DRD Minister made the Vesting Order on Monday 23 March. This was published in draft form in November 2014 (see previous update). The Vesting Order gives TransportNI the right to compel landowners to sell them the land needed for the scheme, and this action means that TransportNI have now gone ahead and bought the land. The fact that it has now been made means that the Minister did not see the need for a public inquiry. The same press release also finally gives us a cost estimate for the scheme - £6m. It may not be a coincidence that this has happened a week before the end of the financial year - it could be that as budgets are tidied up, any spare unspent cash can be used for things like this. This does not mean that construction is imminent, but this is an important step towards construction. Since it doesn't look as if a public inquiry is needed, the next step would be to identify funding and then start a procurement process to appoint a contractor to build the road. There is really nothing other than money needed to proceed now.

23 Nov 2014: TransportNI (the new name for Roads Service) published a draft Vesting Order for this scheme on 7 November 2014. People have until 16 December to inspect the Vesting Order and object if they so wish. A "Vesting Order" is the legal document required to compel landowners to sell the land needed for the scheme to TransportNI. The fact that it is a "draft" means that at this stage it is their intention to purchase this land, but the actual purchasing has not yet occurred. However, the fact that they are about to spend money on the land implies that TransportNI are serious about building this scheme in the not-too-distant future which is good news. Therefore I've moved it up the list to "schemes in planning". The same press release also says that there won't be an Environmental Impact Assessment for this scheme, presumably because in their judgement the scheme does not meet the criteria requiring such an assessment. It's still not clear whether there will be a public inquiry, since public inquiries for road schemes are often (technically speaking) inquiries into Environmental Statements, and it now looks as if there won't be one for this scheme. Finally, the press release reveals that Millennium Way has been given the number A99, which is a completely random number to choose, devoid of any apparent logic, but entirely in keeping with the whimsical way roads have historically been numbered here! So hurrah for the A99!

10 Apr 2014: The planning application for the revised route of Phase 2 of Millennium Way, which was submitted in September 2013, was granted on 24 March 2014. This was then reported in a Question for Written Answer in the Assembly a few days later. The Minister went on to make two interesting comments. Firstly "Due to the number of landowners affected, the project is likely to require a Vesting Order and a Public Inquiry may also be required, to determine if the level of land take identified is appropriate." The need for a public inquiry will add time and cost to the scheme, but is part and parcel of the democratic process. Secondly he said that "It is estimated the scheme should take four to six months to construct" which is the first time I have heard an actual timescale. Of course, the scheme has no funding allocation so even if it cleared all these other hurdles, it can only go ahead once it has money and that depends on how it rates against other competing schemes within Roads Service and within all Executive departments. In other words, the usual story!

10 Feb 2014: It's been exactly two years since the last update, and it seems there has been some movement on this scheme. In a Question for Written Answer in the Assembly, the Minister gave us an update. Although planning permission was granted in 2006, and renewed in 2012, it seems that the alignment has been changed slightly meaning that a new planning application had to be submitted in September 2013, which you can see here. The application suggests that the road will be a 2-lane single-carriageway 600 metres long, with an enlarged roundabout at the Gilford Road end and a signalised crossroads at the Malcolm Road end. You can view a very detailed design document here. He then went on to say that once permission is granted (he seems confident that it will) he will begin the vesting process with landowners and may need to call a public inquiry. As always, actual construction will depend on finding funding in the years to come.

10 Feb 2012: There was an adjournment debate in Stormont about this project on Tuesday. An adjournment debate is a debate held by a private member of the Assembly concerning an issue in their constituency, but it's just a debate and can't lead to any decisions. The debate essentially provided an opportunity for various politicians to outline the case for the road, and the Minister responded by saying, again, that he agreed with them but he basically had no money to build it. He also confirmed that the 2006 planning permission was renewed in January 2012. The proposer of the debate, the Upper Bann MLA Stephen Moutray, quoted an interesting letter from 1976 showing that the Direct Rule minister for roads back then had promised that the whole road would be completed by 1981 (see link above)!

15 Jan 2012: In a question for Written Answer in the Assembly last November, the DRD Minister was asked for the current status of this project. He said "the route selection and preliminary design of the Millennium Way scheme in Lurgan has been completed. Planning approval has also been obtained, with a view to advancing the Vesting Order and completing the detailed design". However he went on to hint that he had no money to built it, and that construction was unlikely in the near future.

4 Jul 2011: There was an article about this scheme in the Lurgan Mail last month. A delegation from "Lurgan Forward" met the new "Roads" Minister and urged him to press ahead with Phase 2 of Millennium Way, later describing their meeting as "very positive". The delegation argued, correctly, that the road cannot meet its full potential until it is extended to Gilford Road. However there is no indication in the article whether the Minister intends to alter his current policy, which is that there are no plans at present to proceed with the scheme. Interestingly, the article refers not just to the extension to Gilford Road, but also a westwards extension to William Street (the A76 towards the M1) which has hitherto not been part of this proposal. It is not clear whether this is just speculation, a suggestion or an actual plan.

2 Oct 2008: According to a written answer in the Assembly in September 2008, the Regional Development Minister said that the scheme would be "included among the schemes considered for inclusion" in the programme of works for the next ten years. This doesn't really say anything new, and does not commit to proceeding with the scheme, but does confirm that the proposal is still "live".

9 Jul 2008: According to a written answer in the Assembly in June 2008, the scheme has still not got the go-ahead, but the DRD is exploring developer funding. The minister's full statement was: "...the recently published Investment Delivery Plan for Roads over the next 10 years identifies funds totalling £109 million specifically "…. to complete the Non Strategic Major Improvements incorporating the schemes identified in the Sub-Regional Transport Plan". While I would confirm that the Malcolm Road to Gilford Road extension of Millennium Way will be included among the schemes considered for inclusion in this particular programme of work, there are many competing demands for these substantial, but limited, resources and priorities have still to be determined. For that reason alternative funding options have not been ruled out and at a recent meeting with representatives of Lurgan Forward on 1 May 2008 I suggested that it would be helpful if it explored the possibility of developer contribution to this scheme."