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A8 Belfast to Larne Dualling, Northern Ireland

Completed Projects

The A8 is a strategically significant European Route (E01) forming the principal route between Belfast and the Port of Larne (the second largest freight port in Northern Ireland). The completion of the A8 dual carriageway not only improves Northern Ireland’s connectivity to Great Britain and Europe but it also ensures that the A8 is future proofed and retains the long-term viability of the port.



Northern Ireland
Roads Service




2012 - 2015 



The existing A8 highway had reached capacity, with a high volume of heavy vehicles resulting in lower than average speeds. The impact of this was surges in flow resulting in platooning of traffic and a high proportion of fatal road traffic collisions. We upgraded the 14.4km section of the A8 highway to a high-speed, dual two-lane, all-purpose (D2RAP) carriageway standard. We delivered the scheme under a NEC3 Option C contract, following a two phase Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) approach. We advised on early design and buildability assessment in phase one, then delivered the design and construction works in phase two to meet a demanding delivery timescale. The project was the client’s first ECI contract and the first implementation of the Eurocodes on a highway scheme within the UK and Ireland.

We closely monitored and managed complex environmental constraints on the online and offline aspects of the project, such as ensuring continuity of salmon fishing areas, achieving CEEQUAL Excellent for environmental and social performance.

Design improvements included careful selection of overbridges or underbridges to reduce materials imports and associated environmental impacts. Close stakeholder engagement was key, where our team worked closely with the community and integrated local SMEs into the project. Ultimately, 100% of the construction works were delivered by SME’s.


  • We reduced journey times by up to 25% and enhanced journey time reliability
  • With over 2million RIDDOR-free hours we were recognised with a Gold RoSPA award
  • We achieved £6.6m client savings to the agreed Target Price through value engineering
  • We achieved earthworks balance by changing one of the structures from under to over bridge, meaning no fill was removed from site
  • We reinvested cost savings from the scheme to improve LED lighting, pave the central reserve and traffic islands and redesign structures as integral bridges (omitting the need for bearings)
  • Considerate Constructors Scheme Gold Awards recognising sites' exceptional standards of consideration towards local communities, the workforce and the local environment

"I wish to...express my appreciation for the excellent work carried out by your team who, in co-operation with Roads service staff, have delivered a really excellent piece of work within a very demanding timescale."

John White, Director of Strategic Programming, Roads Service.


  • 1st ECI project for Northern Ireland Roads Service
  • 14.5km of online widening and new off-line bypasses
  • 9 structures, six overbridges and three underbridges for local roads, watercourses, etc.
  • 5 grade-separated junctions
  • 46 sites of cultural heritage within 500m of the proposed scheme
  • 174 landowners engaged throughout design and delivery to facilitate successful delivery

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