B56 Ballyclare Western Relief Road


Construction scheme (completed)
Duo Operations Ltd, Augher (www.duoplc.com)
To construct a road link from the A57 Templepatrick Road to the west of Ballyclare to the B94 Rashee Road north of Ballyclare via the B95 Doagh Road.
Total Length
3.2 km / 2.0 miles

Road has been proposed since 1980s

Included in draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan - 2004

27 August 2009 - KPL announce plans to proceed

Planning permission granted - 11 Jan 2011
Scheme on hold (as of Mar 2012)

KPL Group placed into administration - Feb 2014
Neptune Group acquire land and indicate a desire to proceed with the road - Nov 2015

(Previously due to commence Feb 2012 as of Dec 2011; "after Mar 2011" as of Aug 2010; August 2010 as of May 2010)

Roundabout at A57 and 100 metres of relief road completed - mid 2018

Planning permission for southern section of relief road granted - November 2019
Construction on section around Doagh Road began - spring 2020

Planning permission for northern section of relief road granted - 27 April 2021
Work on Phase 1 Doagh Road to Templepatrick Road began - Jan 2021

Roundabout on Doagh Road completed - Aug 2021
Work on Phase 2 Doagh Road to Rashee Road began - Sep 2021

Phase 1 opened to traffic - 21 Dec 2021

Phase 2 opened to traffic in 20 Jan 2023

13m - funded by private developer (as of 2023) of which 4.5m for the Doagh Road to Templepatrick Road stretch.

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

Area plans have marked Ballyclare as a town for significant growth to accommodate some of Northern Ireland's fast-growing population. However the town has historically been severely limited by the fact that the only way to get from the north of the town to the south, and hence to Belfast, is via the congested main street. This scheme has not necessarily diminished the traffic on the main street, but it has allowed continued housing development in the town without increasing congestion at that location. It sees a new two-lane road link running round the north west of the town connecting the A57 Templepatrick Road to the west of Ballyclare to the B94 Rashee Road north of Ballyclare via the B95 Doagh Road. This included a second bridge over the Six Mile Water. The route is shown below.

The proposal had been on the cards for about 40 years when it was completed, and had been included in the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015 (first published 2004). Construction of the road was always planned to be carried out by private developers, but it was not until August 2009 that a developer - KPL Group - secured sufficient land to announce its construction which the Ballyclare Gazette described as "the largest and most expensive privately funded road proposal ever brought forward in Northern Ireland". The road was needed in order to begin work on a major housing development which will take up to 20 years to complete and include between 1000 and 2000 homes when completed. KPL subsequently disappeared but a new developer, Neptune, took up the reins and continued the work. 


The route is a single-carriageway made up as follows:

  • A new roundabout on the A57 Templepatrick Road at the existing Ballyrobert Road junction (completed 2018).
  • Approximately 1km of road going north-west to a new roundabout on the B95 Doagh Road, adjacent to the cemetery. This stretch will include a bridge over the Six Mile Water (completed 2021).
  • Approximately 2km of road running in an S-shape to a new roundabout at Rashee Road just south of the existing Cogry Road junction.

Note that this route differs slightly from that proposed in the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan in that the northern section runs further out from the town than envisaged in that document.

The map below shows the route of most of the scheme, the stretch from Doagh Road to Rashee Road. The southernmost section of the scheme (Templepatrick Road to Doagh Road) is not shown.


25 Jan 2023: Phase 2 of the Ballyclare Western Relief Road was officially opened by the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey on a snowy morning on Friday, 20th January. This marks the completion of the road which has been in planning for approximately 40 years. Congratulations to the Neptune Group and also to the contractor, Duo Operations Ltd. While the road is officially the B56, naming rights fall to the council so it remains to be seen whether it will also be named "Jubilee Road", as phase 1 was, or whether it will be given a new name. A great job and a boost for Ballyclare. The total cost of both phases is now given as 13m, slightly more than the 11m estimated in 2021.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Stephen
                          Ross with two Neptune Group representatives

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Stephen Ross with two Neptune Group representatives at the official opening of phase 2 on 25 January 2023.

4 Jan 2023: Phase 2 (of 2) of the Ballyclare Western Relief Road is now in its final days! At the end of December the developer confirmed that they were planning to open the road by "mid January". Once open, the road will remain the responsibility of the developer for the first year in case there are any defects, after which it is assumed that DFI will "adopt" road and it will become part of the public road network. Phase 1 was named Jubilee Road by the local council. It's not clear if Phase 2 will be bear the same name. However, the new road will take the number B56. With thanks to Andy Boal for spotting that.

27 Oct 2022: This update is primarily to share some photos that I took yesterday with my newly-acquired drone! They show that progress on phase 2 (the final phase) of the road is excellent, with the final surface, footways and street lighting in place along much of the road. Some surfacing is still underway at the Doagh Road and Rashee Road ends, but it does look likely that the road will be completed by the end of 2022 as was anticipated when work began in September last year. The photos also show what a major scheme this is, at least for one that is entirely developer-funded. The photos are arranged from the south end (A57 Templepatrick Road) to north end (B94 Rashee Road).

Pic 1: View south along the new road towards the southern terminus of the scheme at the A57 Templepatrick Road. This section was built in phase 1 and was completed in December 2021. 26 Oct 2022 [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 2: View north from the same location as pic 1, this is the bridge over the Six Mile Water that opened to traffic in December 2021. The road is currently open as far as Doagh Road. Note some kind of underground cambers buing retro-fitted in the abutments of the bridge. Possibly storage chambers for drainage? Or possibly inspection chambers. 26 Oct 2022 [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 3: The Doagh Road roundabout seen looking north on 26 Oct 2022 with Doagh Road going from left to right. This roundabout opened in December 2021. Phase 2 of the scheme is visible ahead, with surfacing work apparently underway. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 4: Part of Phase 2 of the new road seen from near Ballyclare RFC on 26 Oct 2022, looking towards Doagh Road roundabout. Work is already underway on new homes on the upper left. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 5: Part of Phase 2 of the new road seen from near Ballyclare RFC on 26 Oct 2022. You can see how the footways and lighting are in place, and the topsoil between the footway and the carriageway placed and ready for seeding (which might wait until the spring). The T-junction here is one of many that will serve new areas of housing that will extend along both sides of the new road. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 6: Moving north again, this is the future junction of the new road with Reader's Park, seen on 26 Oct 2022. No more new houses are planned at this exact spot, so the fields ahead will remain as they are now. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 7: View from Rashee Road looking south-west along the new road on 26 Oct 2022, with the houses seen in pic 6 visible on the left in the distance. Work on the footways and surfacing does not seem completed here yet. Most of the land visible here is earmarked for new housing. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 8: Terminus of the new road at Rashee Road, on 26 Oct 2022. This was previuously planned as a roundabout but has been built as a priority T-junction with a pair of left-turn filter lanes. This will likely perform fine as Rashee Road is not very heavily trafficked and visibiliy is good. Localised widening of Rashee Road took place here during the summer. Street lighting is already in place. [Wesley Johnston]

14 Oct 2022: The contractor is working steadily along the entire length of the second phase of the road and it looks to me as if the entire thing really will be completed in one go, currently anticipated before the end of the year. This is how developer-led road schemes SHOULD progress, something that other local councils should learn from. (I'm looking at YOU Larne West Distributor.) The Google Earth image that I have reproduced below appears to have been taken at the end of the summer and shows how well works were progressing even then. Once this road opens it will make a significant difference to the town. Phase 1 (Doagh Road to Templepatrick Road) is already making a difference, and this week was officially named Jubilee Road, in honour of the late Queen Elizabeth II, by the local council.

Google Earth shot of phase 2 of the road under construction in later summer, 2022. North is towards the upper right corner. [Google Earth]

10 Aug 2022: Rashee Road (the northern terminus of the scheme) was closed for a number of weeks to allow construction of the new T-junction that will terminate the new road. The road has recently re-opened and the picture below, with thanks to Jim Hanna, shows how it now looks. Rashee Road has been widened to allow the provision of a right-turn pocket. The new junction will operate as a priority T-junction (i.e. without traffic signals). The whole road is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2022.

View north along Rashee Road, Ballyclare on 9 August 2022 showing the terminus of the future Ballyclare Western Relief Road on the left [Jim Hanna].

29 Jun 2022: DFI granted planning permission on 20 May for 699 homes around the northern part of the Ballyclare Relief Road. Permission for the northern part of the road itself was granted in April 2021, and work got underway in September 2021. It is very difficult to get a vantage point to see the works as they are almost entirely offline away from existing roads. However, the Google Earth imagery below dates from April 2022 and clearly shows work well underway along virtually the whole stretch with kerbing evidently in place in at least two locations (near Templepatrick Road at the bottom and in the central section). These are what the developer is referring to as "phase 1" and "phase 2" of (4 phases of) the northern part of the road in the map above. The developer had previously indicated that the whole road would be completed by the end of 2022, which seems plausible though this date has not been confirmed recently. If anyone is in the area and wants to send me photos, or to Tweet photos, of this scheme it would be really appreciated!

Google Earth image from April 2022 showing work underway from the Templepatrick Road roundabout (near the bottom) northwards towards Rashee Road.

21 Dec 2021: Phase 1 of the Ballyclare Western Relief Road (Templepatrick Road to Doagh Road) was officially opened by the contractor this morning. Congratulations to all involved, including the developer Lotus Homes. This phase cost a total of 4m, provided privately. You can see a photograph taken at the opening on Twitter here, taken on the new bridge over the Six Mile Water. Work on the longer phase 2 is ongoing, and is expected to be complete within the next year.

29 Nov 2021: It has now been confirmed that work started on Phase 2 of the road (Doagh Road to Rashee Road) in September 2021 and that it is anticipated to be completed by autumn 2022. Meanwhile, the bridge over the Six Mile Water is close to completion and is still expected to open before Christmas. Fellow road enthusiast Fred Fisher spotted that the parapet railings were in place on the bridge on 3 November. Finally, I recently found a video of the beam lift for the bridge, taken in September.

18 Oct 2021: Phase 1 of this road, the A57 Templepatrick Road to Doagh Road stretch, is progressing very well. The new roundabout on the Doagh Road opened to traffic during August. The bridge is largely completed and work on completing the road itself between the two roundabouts is well advanced. Work was due to be completed by the end of November, and with current progress looking good it seems likely to me that it will be in use before Christmas. Meanwhile, the media recently reported that Neptune Group - the developer building the road - has said it will complete the entire relief road by the end of 2022 at a total cost of 11m. To complete it in that timescale (14 months from now) would require work to begin pretty soon, but planning permission was granted in April 2021 so there are no obstacles to that happening. A very interesting time for Ballyclare.

22 Aug 2021: Work on the A57 Templepatrick Road to Doagh Road stretch of the scheme has been underway now for eight months progress is becoming evident. In the Google Earth picture below, taken in the spring, you can already see the road base and work underway on the abutments for the new bridge over the Six Mile Water. Much has happened since this picture was taken, and the bridge beams seem to now be in place and the deck was poured in early August. This stretch of the road is due to be completed by November so we could well see it open by Christmas. Of course, work still has to be carried out on the rest of the road. As is often the case with developer-funded roads, this one looks as if it will be built in at least four phases, so completion is still some way off. With thanks to Fred Fisher for information and photo for this update.

Google Earth shot of the southern part of the new road, dated 24 April 2021. North is to the top left. It shows the main A57 on the right with the existing roundabout. You can then see the road base being formed, and in particular, the work on the foundations of the abutments for the new bridge over the Six Mile Water. [Google Earth]

View looking north west towards the new bridge, on 10 August 2021. The tall machine is a concrete pumping machine which is doing a "deck pour" to form the deck of the new bridge atop the bridge beams. [Fred Fisher]

5 May 2021: A brief update to say that planning permission for the remainder of the scheme (everything north of Doagh Road) was granted on 27 April 2021. At the minute work is underway on the southern stretch of the road (Doagh Road to the A57 Templepatrick Road) Google Earth have recently uploaded imagery of the area from February 2021. This shows that, at that point, earthworks were evident at the site of the future bridge over the Six Mile Water, and hardcore had been laid at the Doagh Road end of the road.

4 Apr 2021: With work now progressing on phase 1 of the scheme (Templepatrick Road to Doagh Road), some more information has now appeared on the planning portal showing the route of the remainder of the scheme (Doagh Road to Rashee Road). I have included a copy of this map above for reference. This part of the scheme has yet to begin. In the previous update (below) I expressed hope that the northern part would be built in a single phase, but alas this does not seem to be the case. In fact, it now appears that it will be built in four phases starting at the Doagh Road and working north. These four phases are coloured purple, yellow, orange and blue in the map above. However, it should be noted that a through-route will be available after the orange phase is completed, via Readers Park. It is likely that progression of the phases will be related to the speed of construction of the new houses, so it's not possible at this point to put a timescale on its completion, which could well be a number of years away. The map is quite detailed (search the planning portal for application LA03/2020/0881/RM if you want to see it) and allows us to get an idea of what it will be like to use. I show a small section below in more detail.

Close-up of the design of part of the Ballyclare Western Relief Road showing that it will consist of one lane in each direction separated by continuous central hatching that will be used to allow right-turn pockets into housing developments and central islands to assist pedestrians. Note that the road will have no direct frontage, with houses that face the road instead having their own service road running parallel to it. Dedicated bus lay-bys are also provided for and it is intended to be tree-lined for much of its length.

22 Dec 2020: The Newtownabbey Times reported on 11 December that the DFI Minister has decided to approve planning permission for the northern section of the Ballyclare Relief Road (Doagh Road to Rashee Road). I am not certain how this translates into actual planning applications, but I do note that a planning application referring to this section of the road seems to have been submitted five days later on 16 December (LA03/2020/0881/RM), but as yet there are no associated documents to look at. The original plan, about 15 years ago, was to build the entire road in one go. The developer seems to have been pushing to build the road in at least two phases, which seems to be borne out by the work that's underway on phase 1 (Templepatrick Road to Doagh Road). Hopefully the northern half will be built in a single phase, and that it doesn't become another unending saga like the as-yet-uncompleted Larne West Distributor South!

29 Nov 2020: Work on the scheme paused due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but is now set to resume on 4 January 2021. Work on the next phase will focus on construction of a new roundabout on Doagh Road and construction of drainage and the stretch of road from there to the existing roundabout on the A57 Templepatrick Road. This may include the new bridge over the Six Mile Water. This part of the scheme is due to be completed by November 2021.

11 Sep 2020: To date work that has taken place on the scheme has included the earthworks plus a retaining wall in the Six Mile Water, presumably for the bridge. Work was paused due to the Covid-19 pandemic but is due to get underway again at some point in the next few months. The next phase of work will include the construction of the roundabout on Doagh Road plus drainage works. With thanks to the contractor, Duo Operations Ltd, for info on the current situation. So it looks likely to me that the first element of the Western Relief Road to be completed will be the stretch from the A57 to Doagh Road, which will be extremely useful as it will bypass the main street of the town.

12 Jun 2020: At long last more work is taking place on this long-anticipated scheme. The roundabout at the very southern end of the scheme, along with 100 metres of the relief road, were completed in mid 2018 to service the "Ollar Valley" development. However, Neptune Group was granted full planning permission for the southern section remainder of the relief road in November 2019 (it must be a modified plan as permission was granted in 2011) and work now seems to be underway on the central section, around Doagh Road. Vegetation clearance work seems to have been carried out in early 2019 ahead of this work. An aerial view recently shared on Facebook suggests that this, too, is intended to serve a new housing development and doesn't seem to be the provision of the whole relief road. The plans do show a roundabout here, so the works that are underway will likely lead to the construction of that, plus a stretch of the relief road on either side. It could be some years before the whole relief road is built, as developers tend only to build parts of roads as they are needed. The photos below were shared by Alan Robinson. Thanks also to Jay Burbank for the heads-up that this work was underway.

The completed roundabout on the A57 (which runs bottom left to top right) as of 2020. It was completed in mid 2018 along with the first 100 metres of the relief road to serve the Ollar Valley development. [Google Earth]

View north-east along Doagh Road (towards Ballyclare) on 5 June 2020 showing a site yard in place and heavy plant on site. This is to the the site of a new roundabout which will carry the relief road from left to right across Doagh Road here. [Alan Robinson]

Earthworks underway on the future Ballyclare Relief Road near Doagh Road on 5 June 2020 [Alan Robinson].

Telephoto shot taken from Doagh Road, Ballyclare looking south-east towards the existing roundabout on the A57. The new road will eventually run from the roundabout shown to the Doagh Road, though this will require a new bridge over the Six Mile Water and it does not look as if the full link will be completed in this phase of the works. [Alan Robinson]

23 Oct 2016: The Infrastructure Minister was asked about this scheme in the Assembly on 19 September. The Neptune Group acquired the housing development in question in November 2015 and indicated that they would start work on the site early in 2017. The provision of the Ballyclare Western Relief Road is required for the development, but presumably will not all be provided at once. In fact, it could take up to 15 years, the time it is estimated it will take to built all the houses involved. The Minister said "There are a number of locations throughout the North where local councils stand in a prime position to play a leading role, following the devolution of various powers to them in recent years, such as their capacity for financial borrowing, to give one example. Certainly, either on their own or in conjunction with the Department, and with local developers, there is the potential to look at this." This suggests Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council could yet have a role in this scheme. The developer does need to pay for the road, but perhaps the council could provide a loan on favourable terms to allow it to be built at an earlier date.

6 Apr 2016: It's been almost four years since this page was last updated, because the economic slowdown caused the Ballyclare West housing project, of which this road is a component, to be put on the long finger in 2012. KPL Group, the developer behind it, then went into administration in February 2014 shortly after the land had been sold off. In November 2015 the land was acquired by Neptune Group who said in a statement on their web site that "we plan to start work on the site [which is primarily a housing development] early next year. We intend to liaise closely with the local community and elected representatives in order that the new proposed link road can be constructed in a timely fashion". The scheme got a brief mention in a Written Answer in the Assembly about six weeks ago (question AQO 9691/11-16). The DRD Minister noted that the DRD will "assist this development where possible", which is all they can really do since the scheme is "developer led". A developer led project is one that exists primarily to service a private development and must therefore be paid for by the private developer, albeit built to the required standard to become DRD property when finished. All of this does give us some hope that we might see work on the road resume over the next few years, but we'll have to wait and see what Neptune Group decide to do.

20 May 2012: It seems that the decline in the housing market has now hit this scheme. According to the Newtownabbey Today, the scheme is now on hold for an unknown length of time due to lack of money. The developer, KPL Group, said that the scheme is "facing a slight delay due to a reduction in capital provisions" although they point out that they have already invested a considerable sum in preparatory works, and hence are still committed to it. It seems as if the scheme will have to wait until the housing market picks up again. It is not known how long the delay will be, but it may be some time, hence I have moved this scheme back down the priority list.

25 Feb 2012: I was past the site today and took a photo looking along the route of the first phase of this road (see below). It suggests that at least some preparatory work has now taken place. Firstly, there is a distinct mark in the grass of the field that coincides with the line of the road. This suggests that either some vegetation clearance has taken place, or that the line of the road has been marked out in some other way. Secondly, it looks as if some trees have been removed close to where the road will cross the Six Mile Water (foreground of pic). I may be clutching at straws a bit here, but since work is due to begin around now this could be a sign that something is finally moving.

Ballyclare West

Looking north west from the A57 Templepatrick Road
/Ballyrobert Road junction, along the line of the new road (see map above for guidance). Note the light coloured area on the side of the hill, and the apparent tree removal to the right of centre. Taken on 25 Feb 2012. [Wesley Johnston]

12 Dec 2011: According to Newtownabbey Today, work on the first phase of this road is now due to start in February 2012. We had previously expected work to begin during the past year, but there has been no evidence of work and no explanation. According to the article, the reason for the delay was "environmental regulations when several [12] badger setts were discovered along the proposed two-mile route". Hopefully we will see work begin within this timescale.

5 Jun 2011: Work has still not begun on the road. However I was at the site of the associated housing development last week and one of the people working on the site said that they thought the work on the road would be beginning "in July". This is not official information, so could be completely wrong, but as it's all we have I am sharing it anyway! The property company has now set up a web site which devotes a page to the road (but with no maps) which it calls the "Westlands Link Road", although the final say on the road name lies with Newtownabbey Borough Council.

14 Jan 2011: After much delay, planning permission for this proposed road and associated housing development has finally been granted. It is not clear when construction on the road will begin, except to note that (i) KPL seem keen to proceed (ii) work on the road will begin prior to the bulk of the housing development. As it is being progressed by a private developer there are unlikely to be any announcements when work does begin.

18 Sep 2010: Work had been due to get underway on the new road in August 2010, but this did not happen. According to the Newtownabbey Today, the delay is due to the fact that the Planning Appeals Commission have delayed the publication of their report into the inquiry into the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015 (BMAP) until at least March 2011. As this road scheme is part of the BMAP, it is likely to be affected by this delay. The developer (KPL) has not commented, so their position is unknown.

June 2010: According to Newtownabbey Today, work on the houses associated with this development began in May, on land off Rashee Road. However, work on the road did not begin in April 2010 as was anticipated back in August last year. It has now emerged that approval for the road cannot be given until the finalised Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015 (BMAP) has been published. This is presumably because provision of the link road is included in the BMAP and is hence part of the plan. The BMAP *may* be published later in 2010, but no firm date has been given. The developer (KPL Group) is saying that work may begin on the road in "August 2010", but with the dependency on BMAP this seems very optimistic. The article has also confirmed that the road will be built in two stages. The 1km section from Templepatrick Road to Doagh Road will be built first, with the extension to Rashee Road following later, possibly a year or more later.


The view west along Doagh Road, Ballyclare. The new road will cross this road
a few hundred metres ahead. Taken in 2003. [Wesley Johnston]

Looking south, towards Ballyclare, along Rashee Road from the Cogry Road junction. The new road will terminate near where the car is parked. Taken in 2003. [Wesley Johnston]

Artist's impression of how the new road and associated housing development
will look. Picture obtained from the Irish Construction site. [KPL Group]