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Roads

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 4 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which sections of the Eastern Transport Corridor consist of single lane carriageway; and what plans there are to upgrade them. (81806)

The acting Chief Executive of Roads Service (Mr. Geoff Allister) has written to the hon. Lady in response to this question.

Letter from Mr. Geoff Allister, dated 3 July 2006:

You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding which sections of the Eastern Transport Corridor consist of single lane carriageway; and what plans there are to upgrade them.

As this issue falls within my responsibility as Acting Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.

The Eastern Seaboard Corridor runs from Larne and crosses the border south of Newry. The route is essentially comprised of the A8 Larne to Belfast road, the M2 Motorway, the A12 Westlink, the Ml Motorway, and the Al route to the Border.

On the A8 Larne to Belfast road there is 14 kilometres of single carriageway between Coleman’s Corner, near Ballyclare and Kilwaughter.

As you may be aware, Roads Service has recently completed a package of measures on the A8 route costing £13.3m. Consultants identified these improvements as justifiable in terms of cost and effectiveness, resulting from a wide-ranging study that covered all realistic options for the route.

Included in the package were a number of schemes aimed at improving passing opportunities along the remaining stretch of single carriageway. Following the completion of these works, no further major improvements to the A8 are planned at the moment.

As regards the Al route, there is currently 21 Km of the route between Loughbrickland and the Border which is still single carriageway.

Roads Service is progressing 3 projects for the improvement of these remaining sections to dual carriageway standard. They are:

the Loughbrickland to Beech Hill scheme which is currently under construction and completion is anticipated in the Autumn 2006;

the Beech Hill to Cloghogue scheme, the contract for which is expected to be awarded in Spring 2007. This scheme is progressing through the necessary statutory processes and was the subject of a public inquiry into the Vesting of the land during June 2006. It forms part of our PPP Package 2 with completion expected in late 2009 (subject to satisfactory completion of statutory processes); and

the Cloghogue to the Border section, which forms part of a larger joint cross-border scheme to link Newry to the Republic of Ireland’s Ml north of Dundalk. It is currently under construction with completion anticipated before the end of 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which junctions of the Eastern Transport Corridor between Larne and Newry do not have a right-hand turning lane; and what plans he has to upgrade these junctions. (81807)

The Acting Chief Executive of Roads Service, Mr. Geoff Allister, has written to the hon. Lady in response to this question.

Letter from Mr. Geoff Allister, dated 3 July 2006:

You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding which junctions of the Eastern Transport Corridor between Larne and Newry do not have a right hand turning lane; and what plans he has to upgrade these junctions.

As this issue falls within my responsibility as Acting Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.

The Eastern Seaboard Corridor is essentially comprised of the A8 Larne to Belfast road, the M2 Motorway, the A12 Westlink, the Ml Motorway and the Al to the Border, south of Newry. I can advise that on the A8 Larne to Belfast road the junctions which do not have a right hand turning lane are those at Ballygowan Road/Deerpark Road and Ballygowan Road South. However, a right turn facility at the Ballygowan/Deerpark Road junction will be constructed later this financial year, and a similar facility will be constructed at the Ballygowan Road South junction during the 2007/2008 financial year. The only other section of the A8 with no dedicated facilities for right turning movements is the section of single carriageway between Coleman's Corner and Ballynure.

You will possibly be aware that the Belfast Metropolitan Transportation Plan supports dualling this section, including the completion of the Ballynure Bypass. Subsequently, the Department has sought, through the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan, to protect the land required for this scheme. It is currently expected that the implementation of this scheme will be outside the 2015 Plan period. On completion of the dual carriageway, the priority junctions will be reduced to left-in left-out, without the need to perform right turns, other than at the main roundabouts.

On the Al Belfast to Newry road, there are currently two junctions which do not have a right turn facility. These are Ashgrove Road, which is just north of the Damolly Roundabout on the approach to Newry and to the west side of the Al, and Cloughanramer Road which is just north of the Damolly Roundabout and to the east of the A1. However, this section of the Al will be superseded by the planned Beech Hill to Cloghogue dual carriageway upgrade, which is included in Package 2 of Roads Service's Public Private Partnership Project.

Right turn movements at all other junctions along the Eastern Seaboard Corridor are accommodated within the approach lanes to roundabouts, central reserve deceleration lanes, or grade separated junctions with slip roads.

I hope this information is helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many vehicles per day on average use the A8 Eastern Transport Corridor between Larne and Belfast. (81808)

The acting chief executive of Roads Service (Mr. Geoff Allister) has written to the hon. Lady in response to this question.

Letter from Mr. Geoff Allister, dated 3 July 2006:

You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding how many vehicles per day on average use the A8 Eastern Transport Corridor between Larne and Belfast.

As this issue falls within my responsibility as Acting Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.

By way of background, I should explain that Roads Service collects traffic volume data by means of 270 automatic census points strategically located throughout the Northern Ireland road network. The information is recorded for one week in each quarter during the year and an annual average calculated. The results are published in Roads Service’s annual Traffic and Travel Information Report, which presents the traffic volumes in a variety of formats for each site.

Roads Service has automatic traffic-counting equipment at five different locations along the A8 between Larne and Sandyknowes roundabout in Glengormley. The latest data (2005) on the annual average daily number of vehicles using the A8 are shown in the table below.

Location

Annual average daily flow (two-way)

A8 Sandyknowes to Corr’s Corner

15,009

A8 on dual carriageway north of Corr’s Corner

17,714

A8 north of Bruslee recycling amenity site

11,048

A8 north of Ballynure

13,325

A8 at Drumnahoe near Larne

17,566

I hope this information is helpful.