4 The Proposed Scheme This page is intentionally blank. Faber Maunsell Northern Key Transport Corridor Improvements: M2 Link to A26 Ballee Road East 24 4 The Proposed Scheme 4.1 Introduction The improvement being considered would provide a dual 2-lane All Purpose (D2AP) standard dual carriageway underneath the Larne Road Roundabout to provide a direct connection between the Ballymena Bypass and Ballee Road East. Two bridges constructed as part of the Larne Road Roundabout were aligned to allow the bypass to connect to the M2 at Antrim; this aspiration was subsequently superseded by the construction of the Antrim to Ballymena dual carriageway. Whilst the alignment of the bridges is not conducive to the current proposal, the inclusion of both bridges in the M2/A26 Link is essential if the scheme is to be economically viable. Having accepted the constraints imposed by the existing Larne Road Roundabout underbridges and defined the terminal point of the alignment as the Ballee Road East to the east of the Ballee Roundabout (Seven Towers Roundabout), only one viable route corridor exists. 4.2 Scheme Layout The proposed M2/A26 Link continues south from the existing merge and diverge slip roads lying to the north of the Larne Road Roundabout, underneath the bridges originally built for the future extension of the motorway. The route then curves sharply to the right to merge with Ballee Road East at Ballee Roundabout. The proposed layout is illustrated on Figure 4.1 with the existing layout and aerial photograph of the corresponding area shown on Figures 2.1and 2.2. New merge and diverge slip roads constructed on the south side of the existing “half diamond” interchange at Larne Road Roundabout will provide access to and from the proposed link. West of the new link, the bypassed part of Ballee Road east would retain its connection with the Larne Road Roundabout and would continue to service Pennybridge Industrial Estate: it may also offer possible future access to lands south west of Pennybridge Industrial Estate which are zoned for industry and housing. The redundant northbound lane of Ballee Road East was considered as an off-slip from the proposed link road to the Larne Road Roundabout. This was rejected because of possible conflict between slow moving traffic accessing Pennybridge Industrial estate and fast moving traffic, diverging from the proposed link road. Bridging the Liminary Road over the proposed link road was considered, as this would have maintained the Liminary Road connection to the redundant part of Ballee Road East. This was rejected because of unacceptable geometry and possible demolition of property on the Liminary Road. East of the new link road, the Liminary Road from Kells would be realigned to connect directly to the Larne Road Roundabout. The design speed of the realigned part of the Liminary Road would be selected to complement the adjacent section of the Liminary Road. Gaps in the central reserve on Ballee Road East will be closed and replaced by a single gap incorporating a ‘u-turn’ facility to maintain access to several properties along the south east of the dual carriageway. This page is intentionally blank.