Work on a controversial southern section of the multi-million pounds A6 dualling project is to proceed within days, the Department for Infrastructure has indicated.
The announcement comes just weeks after a legal challenge lodged by environmental campaigners was dismissed by the High Court.
On Tuesday, a DfI spokesperson stated: “Main construction work on the A6 Randalstown to Castledawson Dualling Scheme will begin in the next few weeks.
“Work will take place on the sections from Randalstown to Toome and from Moyola to Castledawson Roundabout.”
The Department says the £160million scheme will shorten journey times by at least a quarter; remove several bottlenecks; improve road safety for 18,000 people using the road daily.
DfI says it will continue to meet its environmental commitments and that it has “engaged in a comprehensive and sustained consultation process to ensure there will be no adverse impact on any protected flora or fauna including the protected Whooper Swans”.
“In relation to the contested section near Mossbawn, only essential work involving alterations to utility supplies, minor archaeology/geotechnical testing and ground preparation to the south of the existing bypass will be completed at this time,” it said.
The entire scheme is expected to be substantially complete in early 2021, with the Randalstown to Toome section open to traffic as soon as 2019.