Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA and Chairman of the Stormont Employment and Learning Committee, has “warmly welcomed the appointment of a contractor for the A26 dualling project as a very positive step to hopefully eliminate one of the Province’s worst accident blackspots”.
Assemblyman Swann, who is UUP Chief Whip, made his statement as his party colleague and Transport Minister Danny Kennedy MLA announced the appointment of consortium BAM/McCann as construction contractors for the A26 dualling project.
The eight kilometre scheme represents an investment of £55 million, including land acquisition, and will see the upgrading of the existing single carriageway to dual carriageway between Glarryford and the A44 Drones Road Junction. The scheme will closely follow the existing road alignment.
Announcing the contract award, Minister Kennedy highlighted the importance of the scheme: “This is a strategically important route which links Belfast to the north coast of Northern Ireland and its most popular tourist attractions.
“The existing road carries around 18,000 vehicles per day and with traffic levels continuing to grow, this very significant investment will help improve road safety, reduce congestion and improve journey times.
“I congratulate the BAM/McCann consortium on its successful bid for this scheme. I am confident that the construction contract for this scheme will help to secure jobs in the local construction industry and in turn contribute towards the continued economic development of Northern Ireland.”
Work is expected to commence by the end of this year, running for a period of 28 months, with completion expected in early/mid 2017.
Assemblyman Swann added: “This is tremendous news, not just for my constituency, but for the whole of Northern Ireland as the A26 is one of the most important arterial routes to many of the terrific tourist sites which North Antrim has to offer.
“Tragically, over many years, this stretch of road has also witnessed numerous families left mourning the loss of loved ones who have died in incidents along this road, making it one of Northern Ireland’s most notorious accident blackspots.
“We also remember the many others over the years who have been injured in such accidents.
“Hopefully, when this dualling scheme is completed, the A26 along this section will lose this notorious reputation and the road will be remembered for its safety record in years to come,” said Assemblyman Swann.