A long-awaited £35 million bypass that will carry around 50,000 vehicles every week has officially been opened.
The new 6 kilometre Magherafelt bypass, which will link Mid Ulster to the M2, Belfast and the north-east, was completed several weeks ahead of schedule.
Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard said: “The A31 is a strategically important and busy route. The investment and delivery of the £35million bypass will improve local connections to the Key Transport Corridor network and significantly ease congestion in Magherafelt by up to around 50,000 vehicles every week.
“In addition to reducing congestion, the bypass will help improve road safety and reduce journey times.” The new bypass was built on a largely green field site to the east of Magherafelt between the A31 Moneymore Road at Coolshinny Road junction to the south of Magherafelt and the A6 Castledawson roundabout to the north. It incorporates three new roundabouts at Moneymore Road, Ballyronan Road and Aughrim Road which provide access to the new road as well as a number of under bridges at Killyfaddy Road, Loves Road and Killyneese Road.
The minister said: “Delivering extensive improvements to the roads infrastructure involves the cooperation and understanding of the local community.
“However, I am confident that everyone involved will see and immediately begin to benefit from this significant investment.
“My congratulations go to the construction companies BAM and McCann on the joint delivery of the scheme ahead of schedule.”