Multi-million pounds works to restore and protect Blackhead Path have officially started.
The project will see repair works carried out in stages over the next year to allow the thousands of visitors who enjoy this area each year, to explore the entire path in all its glory.
The contractor, FP McCann, has been appointed to complete the works and are on site with work already underway.
AECOM have also been integral to the plans which include repairs along the coastal paths from the Old Castle Road right up to the lighthouse and new steps and handrails.
Russell Eddis, Civil Engineering Business Manager at FP McCann said: “We’re delighted to have started work on this exciting project to restore the Blackhead Coastal Path. This is a major civil engineering project so the work will be carried out in phases to minimise disturbance to the local community.”
The site compound is currently being set up and will be based at the northern end of the car park. Works on the Upper Path are now beginning and include gravel path restoration, new fencing, new footbridge installation, drainage works and general landscaping.
Mid-June will also see the commencement of stockpiling rock for the new rock armour causeway on the coastal promenade.
Work to restore the Golden Steps was completed earlier this year and two new community noticeboards have been erected in Whitehead for information on the progress to be shared with locals and visitors alike. These are located near the path car park and outside the Whitehead Community Association.
Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Anne Donaghy said: “We’re pleased and excited to see work starting on this important project. The works will see this path restored to its former glory and leave a lasting legacy for generations to enjoy. The stunning coastal walk is not only an essential part of life for locals in Whitehead, but one of this area’s biggest tourism assets.
“Whitehead is a stunning village with lots of eateries, shops, arts events and beautiful scenery to explore, and I would encourage everyone to make use of this whilst the works are ongoing.
“We are extremely keen to reopen the path as soon as the works are completed next year and appreciate the patience from the local community until that is done. We will continue to work closely with residents and the local community to get this breath-taking path open as soon as possible.”
Council and the contractor would appreciate if people could stop using the path during the works for everyone’s safety.
The nature of the works will include excavations, large plant and changing ground conditions and some of the paths are very restricted in their width.