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-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

(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, 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

24 Mar 2021: The scheme is now into its final year and we are starting to see the road take on its final shape in an ever-increasing number of locations. Some of the least-advanced bridges are also progressing, with beam lifts imminent at both Liberty Glen and Ardmore Road, while the Owenbeg river crossing finally got its beams in the past month too. Another milestone was the transfer of traffic onto one carriageway of the new road at Claudy, on 10 March, and the commencement of works for the terminal roundabout at Magherabuoy, on the eastern side of Dungiven, on 22 March. The pictures below detail the progress at various places and as usual are arranged in order from west to east (Derry to Dungiven) and are with grateful thanks to Benbradagh, Alan Lynas, Paul McCloskey, Esther Harper, Arthur Ming and Les Ross as always to them for keeping us so well-informed. The only places I haven't seen photos from recently are Tamnaherin Road and Killaloo grade-separated junctions, so sorry that they are not represented.


Pic 1: Liberty Glen bridge seen looking east on 23 March, showing a lot of progress since Febraury. The central piers are now being connected together to form the base for the installation of three spans of bridge beams. [Arthur Ming]


Pic 2: View looking west (towards Derry) from Liberty Glen bridge, showing that the section of dual-carriageway ahead is very advanced indeed, with drainage installed, a base course of asphalt laid and planting completed. 23 Mar 2021 [Arthur Ming]


Pic 3: Several bridge beams have recently arrived near to Liberty Glen bridge. These are probably some of the beams that will be installed at Liberty Glen in the coming weeks. 23 Mar 2021 [Arthur Ming]


Pic 4: View of Burntollet bridge on 7 March 2021, showing piling works taking place for the abutments of the second half of the bridge here. It's impossible to tell from this angle whether the "old" 1950s Burntollet Bridge has been demolished yet - does anyone know? [Alan Lynas]


Pic 5: View looking east towards Burntollet Bridge from The Oaks side on 7 March 2021. The old road (which ran roughly where the gravel is) has now been completely removed, excavated deeper down, and is now being rebuilt to form the future eastbound carriageway. [Alan Lynas]


Pic 6: View west from the same location as picutre 5, towards The Oaks accommodation bridge, visible in the distance, on 7 Mar 2021. The old A6 ran where the gravel is, and has been completely removed. The new dual-carriageway is being built where it was. All traffic is currently using the temporry road that heads off to the right. This bit will eventually be removed, while the remainder (off frame to the right) will become part of the new Ervey Road link, which will run parallel to the A6 for a distance. [Alan Lynas]


Pic 7: Aerial view of Claudy overbridge on 12 Mar 2021, a couple of days after traffic was diverted onto it, using the future westbound carriageway. The old A6, which is to the left of the yellow van, had just been closed at this point and is now being excavated to create the cutting for the local Baranailt Road, which will run beneath it to join the road visible at the upper left. The yellow van is on the future eastbound carriageway, which is not yet open. The wide gap between the carriageways over this bridge is to provide sufficient forward sightlines for traffic heading west. [Benbradagh]


Pic 8: Gortilea Road bridge seen from the air on 12 Mar 2021. This local road, which simply passes over the new road, has been closed for over a year. The overburden (basically, a large pile of rock and earth) which sat to the right of the bridge for several months (purpose being to compress the soft ground more speedily) has now been removed and the embankment for the road itself at last seems to be underway. Work also seems to be taking place on the road itself, with a lot of earthwork evident over the past month. [Benbradagh]


Pic 9: Ballyhanedin Road bridge, which is about 1 km east of Gortilea Road, is also an active site, with the bridge deck partly in place and the embankment on the right being built up too, as seen on 12 Mar 2021. [Benbradagh]


Pic 10: View beneath Ballyhanedin Road bridge on 21 March 2021, showing three bridge beams and completed shuttering between them to facilitate construction of the deck above. The temporary working platforms (falsework) on either side are also visible. [Esther Harper]


Pic 11: An accommodation bridge (which exist to preserve access to private property) just east of Ballyhanedin Road with its bridge deck under construction on 12 Mar 2021. Note the hollow abutments, which will be filled in in due course. The road itself here is more advanced, with base courses of gravel in place. [Benbradagh]


Pic 12: The new dual-carriageway is very advanced here, at Altagarron Road on 12 Mar 2021. Both carriageways have (at least) base courses of asphalt laid and drainage in place. Still needed are the crash barriers, final wearing courses of asphalt and signage. [Benbradagh]


Pic 13: View west through the huge Ovil Hill cutting on 12 Mar 2021. Again, surfacing has recently been installed here. The number of stretches of road that are close to completion is increasing all the time. Huge numbers of trees have been planted in the foreground. [Benbradagh]


Pic 14: Killunaught Road bridge, not far from Dernaflaw, got its bridge beams about six weeks ago and work is now underway on the deck, though the concrete for the deck has yet to be poured. New accommodation lanes are being built along the left side of the new road here, on top of the banks. Once again, a lot of progress is evident on the surface of the new road itself. 12 Mar 2021 [Benbradagh]


Pic 15: Closeup of the asphalt batching plant - basically, a tarmac factory - near Derrychrier Road on 12 Mar 2021. Though this noisy and smelly facility will definitely not be missed by local residents when it is gone, it is currently doing a huge amount of work manufacturing asphalt surfacing for the new road. Various grades of stone can be seen stored beside it. [Benbradagh]


Pic 16: The Owenbeg river bridge near Dernaflaw finally got its bridge beams (all eight of them) earlier in March. In this shot, the shuttering between the beams is in place but work on the deck itself has yet to take place. 12 Mar 2021 [Benbradagh]


Pic 17: Ground-level view of Owenbeg River bridge on 21 March 2021, about ten days after the previous shot, showing the falsework bolted onto the sides of one beam to allow workers to access it. This shot shows how little space there is below this bridge compared to, say, the River Roe bridge at Dungiven. [Esther Harper]


Pic 18: The site of Feeny Road junction looking west on 12 Mar 2021. The bridge is completed but the road has not yet been rebuilt over it. The pink material is a waterproofing layer on the bridge deck. The west-facing sliproad loop is really taking shape at the bottom left. Earthworks on the new road itself are also very evident. At some point Feeny Road will be realigned over the new bridge, and then the temporary road will be removed to complete the cutting. It was recently announced that a park-and-ride facility is to be built at this junction, though not as part of the current contract. [Benbradagh]


Pic 19: The River Roe bridge, south of Dungiven, as seen on 9 Mar 2021. This bridge still looks to be some weeks away from a beam lift, which will be quite a sight when it is underway given the height of the bridge deck. One carriageway of the future dual-carriagway is well advanced ahead. Benbradagh recently shared an aerial movie of this bridge, taken a few days later than this picture. [Les Ross]


Pic 20: View looking west of Priory Lane bridge, Dungiven, which is completed though not yet open to the public. Earthworks still seem to be outstanding on the left here. The new dual-carriageway here is very advanced with asphalt in place. It is likely that the crane will need to come down this stretch to reach the River Roe bridge (in the middle distance) when the time comes for the beam lift. 12 Mar 2021. [Benbradagh]


Pic 21: Work began here, on the current A6 Chapel Road at the eastern side of Dungiven, on Monday this week, 22 March 2021. This is the view the day before. This is the site of a future roundabout  which will be known as Magherabuoy Roundabout, and marks the terminus of the new dual-carriageway. The works are schedueld to last about eight months, so we should see work completed around the end of November. [Paul McCloskey]

26 Feb 2021: There is now only a little more than a year to go on this three-and-a-half year scheme and progress continues well, and the better weather of the approaching spring will help this. The contractor posted an update on their web site here two weeks ago (though as I write this the site is down for maintenance) which I won't reproduce here, but I will note some significant points before moving on to some photos:

  • Work at Liberty Glen bridge, near the Belfray Inn, is ongoing. The base for the southern/eastern abutment is complete, with work now focused on the northern/western abutment.
  • The Oaks accommodation bridge, which got its bridge beams in December, has now had its diaphragms completed (the structure that holds the beams together) and work on the deck itself is due to happen next.
  • At Burntollet, it is now quite hard to see the old 1950s bridge, but it appears to still be in place. It will need demolished before long. Meanwhile, work is underway on the piling platforms that will eventually form the abutments for the second half of the new bridge.
  • At the nearby Ardmore Road bridge, the abutments are almost complete and the beams will be lifted into place in March. Some of these are already sitting on the site.
  • At the Claudy junction, work on the new bridge is almost complete. A6 traffic had been due to be diverted onto the new bridge today, but this has been deferred by at least a week so that the contractor can complete some outstanding work on the bridge. After this, the existing A6 will be removed in order to excavate the cutting needed to get the northern part of Baranailt Road down under the new bridge. There are a number of photos of this junction below.
  • At Gortilea Road, the contractor has indicated that the embankment to carry Gortilea Road on the south side will be constructed soon. The bridge has sat completed for some months now with nothing much happening.
  • Ballyhanedin Road overbridge also got its bridge beams, in early January, a fact which I missed at the time.
  • At Killunaught Road overbridge, the beams were placed about ten days ago and work is now underway on the deck.
  • At the Owenbeg River bridge, west of Dungiven, the west abutment is being completed and the beams will be placed in March. There was an incident this week when a beam on its way to the A6 scheme, possibly for this bridge, was struck by a motorist who appears to have tried to drive under it as it negotiated Sprucefield roundabout!
  • Although both the Feeny Road and Magheramore Road bridges near Dungiven are structurally complete, a lot of work still has to be done before they can be opened to traffic, namely the construction of the footpaths over the bridges and then the reconstruction of the approach roads on either side and over the bridges themselves. So we may not see this happen for a few weeks yet. It was also announced this week that a park-and-ride facility is to be built for Dungiven at Feeny Road, as a separate project from this one.
  • At the River Roe bridge, south of Dungiven (the least-advanced river bridge) the piling work for the abutments has been completed, and work on the eastern abutment is now to get underway.
  • At the terminus of the scheme in Dungiven, work on Magherabuoy roundabout seems to have gotten underway over the past month, though as yet this has had no impact on traffic on the existing A6.
  • A new aerial movie of the Dungiven Bypass section was uploaded last week by Benbradagh. It begins near Derrychrier Road (visible at 1:00) and thereafter moves east towards Dungiven.

And now some images. As usual these are arranged west to east.

Liberty Glen bridge near the Belfray Inn looking east on 4 Feb 2021 with work focused on the northern abutment. Workers can be seen constructing the steel reinforcement in the foreground, which will eventually be encased in concrete like the one on the other side. [Arthur Ming]


The view west towards Burntollet Bridge (in the distance) on 21 Feb 2021. Work is underway to widen the existing A6 on the right, creating an embankment below the trees. On the left work is underway on a new accommodation laneway. [Alan Lynas]


Large steel bridge beams that have appeared near Gulf Road at the contractor's compound. These are probably for the the second half of the new Burntollet bridge, though I haven't confirmed that. They're being stored here as there is currently nowhere closer to store them. 21 Feb 2021 [Paul McCloskey]


At Claudy junction, this is the "new" Baranailt Road looking north with Claudy behind the camera and the new bridge ahead. This road is not yet open to traffic, but the road to the right in the foreground leads to the current Baranailt Road. This road may come into use when the A6 is diverted over the new bridge in early March. In the distance you can see the west-facing sliproads heading up the hill to the left from the circular pipe segments. To the left of camera, not really visible, work is underway on a new park-and-ride facility. 21 Feb 2021. [Martin Lynch]

Looking up what will be the westbound sliproads to/from the A6 at Claudy on 21 Feb 2021. [Martin Lynch]

View west across the Claudy bridge on 21 Feb 2021. This will eventually carry the entire dual-carriageway, but from early March the section visible here will come into use to carry all A6 traffic on the future westbound carriageway. [Martin Lynch]

View south from the Claudy bridge on 21 Feb 2021. This is the "new" Baranailt Road looking towards Claudy, with the new park-and-ride visible on the right middle distance. The road hasn't been completed closer than shown here because the underpass currently ends at an earthen cliff – the existing A6 must be closed before this can be excavated. In this shot you can clearly see the layers of road construction - gravel base course, asphalt binder course and the asphalt wearing course on top. [Martin Lynch]

Section of the new dual-carriageway near Derrychrier Road on 21 Feb 2021 with the binder course of asphalt laid, but otherwise not much happening. The gap in the foreground is for the future central barrier, while drainage channels can be seen on either side. This shot shows how wide the new road is. [Esther Harper]


Killunaught Road bridge with its six concrete beams in place on 21 Feb 2021. [Esther Harper]

View of the central pillars of the Killunaught Road bridge on 21 Feb 2021. Work is underway here to build the diaphragm above the central pillars, while formwork has been placed between the beams to allow construction of the deck above. [Esther Harper]

Work underway on the terminal roundabout of the scheme at Magherabuoy, Dungiven on 21 Feb 2021 [Paul McCloskey]

1 Feb 2021: There are quite a few photos in this update, and one aerial movie, with thanks to Arthur Ming, Sean Wilson, Esther Harper and Benbragagh. Firstly, I'll link to a great movie of the Dungiven Bypass portion of the scheme by Benbradagh, dating to 16 January. I've written a brief commentary below. The times refer to minutes and seconds in the video. After that, there are a series of photos.

  • 0:00 Starting at the site of the future Magherabuoy roundabout, on the east side of Dungiven and then heading west.
  • 0:19 Priory Lane bridge, with the approach roads on either side now under construction.
  • 0:30 Completed flood attenuation pond visible on the right.
  • 0:40 River Roe bridge still under construction - with the abutments and pillars for the three spans well advanced.
  • 1:20 Magheramore Road bridge, still not open, with the Owenrigh river bridge immediately beyond. From here there is a long stretch with blacktop laid and drainage channels (visible in light grey) in place.
  • 2:22 Feeny Road grade-separated junction taking shape, with the bridge completed and the loop for the westbound on/offslip visible on the left. No work has yet taken place on the eastbound on/offslip (upper right corner) as the temporary route of Feeny Road currently blocks the site, which seems to be in use right now as a spoil heap.
  • 2:36 Kink in kerb line on right reveals the site of the future eastbound offslip.
  • 3:05 Site of the Owenbeg river bridge, the least-advanced structure on the Dungiven Bypass. Some initial work has taken place on the abutments, but the temporary bailey bridge is still in place and little else evident.
  • 3:25 Further area of subsurface now in place with another permanent flood attenuation pond on the left.
  • 4:15 Crossing Derrychrier Road, with the underpass completed and in use. Long agricultural accommodation laneway to the left of the new road.
  • 4:35 Site of future westbound layby, just apparent in the shape of the road base. The large batching plant on the right is a temporary structure that is making tarmac, though the noise and smell is apparently causing quite a nuisance to local residents.
  • 5:15 On this stretch significant earthworks still seem to be underway. Also evident are hundreds of newly-planted trees on either side of the new road.
  • 5:35 Killunaught Road bridge under construction, with the central pillars in place and work on the abutments underway.
  • 5:48 Camera stops, and returns to Dungiven along the same route.
The following photos are, as usual, arranged in order from west to east starting at the Derry end. There is a particular focus this time on the complex works taking place around Burntollet.


Pic 1: View west from McCay's accommodation bridge at Drumahoe, about 1km east of the scheme's starting point at the new Lismacarol Roundabout, Drumahoe. The gravel foundations of the two carriageways are in place here, while the cutting ahead has just been excavated following the closure of a laneway that has now been re-routed across this accommodation bridge. 30 Jan 2021 [Sean Wilson]

Pic 2: View east from McCay's accommodation bridge on 30 Jan 2021, with the site of Liberty Glen bridge - the longest bridge on the scheme - visible as the dip beyond the orange machinery in the distance. Again, both carriageways here are having their gravel foundations laid and graded. There has also been a lot of work planting hundreds of trees on the banks. In ten years' time passing through this cutting will be like driving through woodland. [Sean Wilson]

Pic 3: View of the work underway on Liberty Glen bridge, near the Belfray Inn, on 30 Jan 2021. The eastern abutment appears close to completion, as are the two sets of intermediate piers. The western abutment is less advanced. We're still a bit away from being ready for a beam lift here I think. In the upper left is the same cutting seen in pic 2. [Arthur Ming]

Pic 4: View of The Oaks accommodation bridge, near Burntollet, in the snow on 23 Jan 2021. In my update on 8 December I said that the beams had been lifted on Ardmore Road bridge. This was incorrect, it was actually this bridge that had its beams added, apologies. Believe it or not, the site in the foreground was the existing A6 until traffic was diverted onto a temporary road just a matter of weeks ago. [Sean Wilson]

Pic 5: View of the site of Ardmore Road bridge, taken from the existing stone Oaks Bridge (which will remain in situ) on 29 Jan 2021. Work on both abutments is progressing well and should be ready for a beam lift before too long. This bridge is at a high skew (around 60°) over the River Faughan and is required due to the need to reconstruct both the vertical and horizontal alignment of Ardmore Road. [Sean Wilson]

Pic 6: Close-up of the northern abutment of the Ardmore Road bridge on 29 Jan 2021. The existing A6 can be seen beyond. [Sean Wilson]

Pic 7: View of the southern abutment of Ardmore Road bridge (left) and the existing stone Oaks bridge, as seen from near the northern abutment on 30 Jan 2021. The green fabric protects the River Faughan from runoff from the site. [Arthur Ming]

Pic 8: The first beams for the Ardmore Road bridge arriving on site on 20 Jan 2021. They are located close to the existing stone bridge. [Sean Wilson]


Pic 9: Three steel bridge beams for the Ardmore Road bridge being stored at the site on 30 Jan 2021. They appear to have a slight curvature to them. [Arthur Ming]

Pic 10: Telephoto shot of Burntollet Bridge as seen from near Ardmore Road on 29 Jan 2021. The higher structure, with the red-and-white barriers, is the northern half of the "new" A6 bridge, now carrying all traffic. The smaller bridge to the left is the 1950s A6 bridge, now closed to traffic, and soon to be demolished. The two cars on the right are parked at the former junction of the A6 and Ardmore Road. The entire area visible on the left between Ardmore Road bridge and Burntollet bridge has been cleared as a large construction site. When it comes time to install the beams for the southern half of the new bridge, probably in mid 2021, the massive crane will likely be sited roughly where the orange roller is parked. Eventually the area will be built up onto an embankment to allow Ardmore Road to be reconstructed to meet the new A6 at the same level as the new bridge. A lot still to happen here. [Sean Wilson]

Pic 11: Moving close to Dungiven now, this is the site of the future Owenbeg river bridge seen looking east on 17 Jan 2021, with Feeny Road overbridge visible in the distance. A lot of the work here is still at the earthwork stage, but you can now see vertical steel reinforcement bars on the eastern bank of the river, showing that work on the abutments has now commenced. A brown bailey bridge, giving access over the river for site works, can be seen here too. [Esther Harper]


Pic 12: Same location as previous, but looking west, this shows the base course of tarmac in place here on 17 Jan 2021. The telephoto makes the road appear more undulating than it really is. The white towers in the distance are part of the batching plant that makes the tarmac. [Esther Harper]


Pic 13: Finally, this shot taken on Sunday 31 Jan shows some people taking advantage of the quiet weekend site to race quad bikes on the future dual-carriageway. I would not recommend using a construction site in this way, as there can be many hidden dangers. The bridge pier and abutment visible here are for Killunaught Road overbridge, between Foreglen and Dernaflaw. [Esther Harper]

22 Dec 2020: This is a brief update to report on the significant change at Burntollet, where traffic was switched onto the northern half of the new bridge overnight on 18/19 December. Traffic was also switched onto the future eastbound carriageway from Burntollet all the way to the future Killaloo junction, a distance of about 2.5 km. This marks a significant milestone in this confined part of the scheme. The next step, as summarised in Pic 1 below, will be to demolish the existing 20th century (1950s) bridge and then build the southern half of the new bridge. There are two photos below showing the new layout, taken by Alan Lynas. But before we come to the photos, I need to share links to some superb third party material:

  • Superb drone footage taken by Sky Photography, showing the route from Liberty Glen (near the Belfray) to Burntollet, a few days before the switch-over happened.
  • A series of lovely aerial photos by Aerial Vision NI of the stretch of the A6 from Dungiven to Foreglen.
  • Footage taken from a car by Diarmaid Macfheargail showing Burntollet. The first part of the video is taken travelling towards Derry before the switch-over. The second part of the video is taken travelling towards Belfast after the switch-over and crossing the new bridge, and then travelling about 5 km further east past Killaloo to near Claudy! The smooth vertical alignment of the new Burntollet Bridge means it's easy to miss it in the movie! With thanks to Paul McCloskey for flagging this video.

Pic 1: The stages of work at Burntollet Bridge. We have just completed stage (3). The next phase, which I would expect to see in January 2021, will be stage (4), the demolition of the 1950s bridge.

Pic 2: View of the first half of Burntollet Bridge open and in use on 20 December 2020. This was very fast work, given that the approach embankments were barely started six weeks ago. Well done to the contractor. [Alan Lynas]

Pic 3: Same location as pic 2, but looking towards Derry. All traffic is using the future eastbound carriageway. The old A6 ran where the digger is, and hugging the trees beyond. This line has now been excavated and dropped down in height by a couple of metres in order to give a better vertical alignment for the future westbound carriageway. [Alan Lynas]

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.