Northern Ireland

Vesting order made for A2 Carrickfergus road scheme

Image caption At busy times there can be significant congestion on the road

The Department of Regional Development is to take land from up to 80 properties on the outskirts of Belfast as part of a £60m road widening scheme.

DRD minister Danny Kennedy said he is making a vesting order for the land to improve the A2 between Belfast and Carrickfergus at Greenisland.

The scheme will create a new dual carriageway between Shore Avenue at the University of Ulster and Seapark.

Mr Kennedy said it was a "strategically vital" stretch of road.

"Along with benefits for road users, Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey will see economic benefits from improved road connections and reduced travel times," he said.

"I am also mindful of the impact this vesting will have on properties affected by the scheme.

"However, I am confident the plan provides the best balance between benefits to roads users, businesses, the wider public and effects on landowners."

The A2 carries 36,000 vehicles every day. The stretch at Greenisland is the only part of the route which has only two lanes and can experience significant congestion.

Since the 1970s there have been several plans to improve the road, but none have come to fruition.

The current scheme has been in the pipeline since 2007, but had to be shelved due to budgetary constraints.

However, funding was secured after plans to improve the A5 were reduced to upgrading two sections.

Work on the A2 is to start next year and take two years.

More on this story